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Feds halt NuMSP wage theft

Elites interfere, obfuscate

by Keith Purtell  - pub Feb. 5, 2022

Updated

»  Top-down boss CONTROLS employee (11/5/22)
» IRS analysis of "EMPLOYEE" decision (11/6/22)

Elites harass via court order

This version of "Top-Down Boss" is modified until I can find legal help responding to a restraining order issued by my wealthy former employer and his attorney.

Before I outline the changes, allow me to remind visitors that A) the U.S. Constitution and the right to free speech remain in place, and B) the Oklahoma Department of Labor declared my wage claim to be a public record, and C) the IRS summary analysis on this page is also a public record.

Changes:

1-At least one image has been replaced by a black box containing the word "Hold," which is what the former employer kept directing me to do during weekly meetings with him and the company scheduler. Specifically, he directed me to know that he had placed several profitable websites on hold (Samson Resources II, OK Machine & Manufacturing, Memorial Baptist Church, Rodeo.Studio/Nick Denison), or that a crucial image file we needed from StoneBridge Group was something he would personally handle (repeated for ~20 months). The holds were so aggressive that they caused a drop in the company's income and my employee wages during the last two years I was there.

2-All but one instance of the former employer's name has been replaced with placeholder text, as have references to the company scheduler. I have daily looked for new opportunities to limit the length of this piece while protecting the goal of letting other marginalized employees know that their adverse employment situations are shared by other workers. This principle was at the heart of the #MeToo movement in social media; beginning in about 2006, allowing hundreds of sexual harassment victims from around the nation to share their stories and support each other.

3-A stock image of a man's gold ring with a decorative dollar sign is permanently removed. It was next to a question about whether or not two Realize managers benefitted from my unpaid wages because the company itself increased its available cash by not paying me. The question now seems off-topic and the image has been vigorously misinterpreted.

It's worth noting that my contact information has always been at the bottom of this page, as has an invitation to correct factual errors, and the wealthy former employer has always had my personal email address and postal address available for use. If anyone thinks my language about the employer's aggression is exaggerated, note that he went directly to hostile and expensive legal strategy. My last step before submitting a wage claim to the ODOL was to politely ask my former employer and the new corporate owners why some of my wages seemed to be missing. They ignored me. I made at least seven formal attempts to get management to discuss problem resolution during the years at Realize/NuMSP.

The journalism purpose of this web page is already in the "head" section of the HTML, but I'll copy it here:

"This page is for education and also to warn workers about misclassification, wage theft, and the few corrupt government officials. Misclassification of employees as contractors is a major issue in the United States. Wage theft alone causes billions of dollars in losses, more than street crimes like robbery, and untold suffering among workers. Exploring employment problems provides people with information to make decisions about their lives, communities, societies, and governments."

Each person who speaks of their encounter with denial of worker rights is also giving reassurance to marginalized workers who fear going public.

The fact that part of this is first-person narrative means that I can not only inform, but also bear witness. With the rise of corporate dominance in the U.S., I believe this type of perspective serves as a public watchdog by monitoring the business process in order to ensure that managers and CEOs do not abuse their power.

My previous experience with wage theft at AppleOne temp agency was published in 2018 as "Owasso Tech Job." When I showed the draft version to one of my two brothers, he said:
"If that had happened to me, I would tell the whole world."

For the record: None of these employment problems happened to me during the 13 years I lived in Kansas/Missouri, and also no such problems during the previous 36 years I was growing up here in Oklahoma.

What's at stake? My losses working for this company are estimated at $91,337. Details in this section below...


Risk-taking and consequences

The legal papers I was served seem intended to convey shock about my writing on wage theft and misclassification. The reason I question that relates to the first month of my former job. During that two weeks in late May 2017, the office manager told me that my yearly tax forms would "look different" than what I was used to because Web Services was being operated as a DBA (Doing Business As). And, my former employer told me May 22, 2017, that my role was "part time" until his intended salesman got us more clients. Years later, it seems neither of these was accurate.

At some level, the former employer and office manager must presumably have understood that misleading me was risky. The consequences of that risk seem clear, because the Oklahoma Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service are public institutions in an open society.

Was the lawsuit predictable? My former boss and his corporate allies can't go after the IRS for making this a public record. They also can't go after the Oklahoma DOL for making this a public record. And, they can't go after the MAVeCap HR person who alerted me to the misclassification, because she is highly placed in the company. Perhaps most disconcerting for my former boss is that the IRS will begin returning to me the tax money I paid that he was supposed to pay, and also instructing him to pay the tax as he should have, while I was an employee.

Could those be reasons for the lawsuit? Am I the easier target?



Unpaid ...

When I submitted screen captures showing tampering with my timesheets and [a former boss] retaliated against my whistle-blowing, I thought I was going to lose three days wages (8/27/21, 8/30/21, 8/31/21). This would have included the firing date—8/27/21—and the last two days of that month. But, NuMSP Human Resources later said their records describe me as "resigned" not "fired." On the check that NuMSP sent for the last two weeks, the memo printed on the check ("8/16/2021-8/31/2021") suggests they ignored [a former boss] and paid me the full last two weeks.



UPDATE 10/4/22:
In September, I asked the Oklahoma Department of Labor if they will honor the federal decision that I was an employee at Realize/NuMSP (a managed service provider) ...

K.PURTELL: "To be sure I understand the wording of the above email, the Oklahoma DOL has decided the I.R.S. 'employee' determination has no weight at the state level?"
ODOL 9/21/22: "Please stay advised for further instruction. We are forwarding to our Legal Division for further clarification."

ODOL 9/30/22: "I emailed earlier this morning to see where they were on their determination but have yet to receive word. I expect I will hear by end of day and of course I will update you once confirmed"

State attorneys' time spent trying to decide if they would defy the federal decision:
43 days, 16 hours, 49 minutes, 03 seconds.

ODOL letter 11/1/2022

"As before, the ODOL must decline to proceed with your new claim. Put simply, the ODOL does not have the power to reconsider or reopen this wage dispute. The submission of additional materials from a separate, federal agency does not alter our decision.
... In February, the ODOL found you had provided services to Respondents as an independent contractor, not as an employee. By law, this prevented us from moving forward with your case.
... Deprived of jurisdiction, the ODOL dismissed your wage claims as required under OAC 380:30-3-3.1(b)."

Two responses:

  1. When a government agency has no jurisdiction, they may take no action. So, let's look at what ODOL said earlier:
    "Whether an employer misclassifies an employee is an IRS matter. Our agency does not make those determinations as it has to do with whether taxes are deducted or not deducted." (Nov. 8, 2021)
    ... and then ...
    "The conclusion is the documentation does not present sufficient evidence of an employer/employee relationship and presents that of an independent contractor relationship. As an independent contractor, our agency has no jurisdiction to resolve your disputes." (Feb. 4, 2022)

    If they had no jurisdiction, they would have taken no action. What they did instead was take action by issuing a formal decision, which Realize/NuMSP is using to justify illegal and predatory behavior. (A person could say that ODOL "moved forward with the case" despite not having jurisdiction.) I invite readers to look over the evidence on this page and draw their own conclusion about "sufficient evidence."

    The only time where I was able to find something that might indicate "contractor" status was my employer's refusal to provide professional software for his new Web Services department. That left me to download software from the web, which had to be free, because my employer refused to provide a budget.

    However, in instances where a person is operating as a separate business—i.e. contractor—then that person probably has their own software. At Realize I only "had my own software" by virtue of downloading freebies using the employee PC I was provided at the employee desk I was provided inside the regular Realize place of business, alongside the other employees.

    Does ODOL think that [a former boss] refusing to invest in his own Web Services department makes me an independent contractor?
     
  2. "...materials from a separate, federal agency..."

    What the ODOL received was a decision from a higher legal authority—not "materials." This is essentially the same as a local court being overruled by the Supreme Court.

    Furthermore, the IRS is the defacto expert agency on matters of employee-vs-contractor disputes in the United States, and it enforces laws, specifications, and rules that direct employers and states.

    The IRS investigative process in evaluating evidence is the gold standard, and it is also free of the political cronyism and anti-worker bias that plague similar processes in some states.

    In states where the rule of law is respected, departments of labor, attorneys general and DAs take their cue from the IRS SS-8 program in enforcing labor laws.

  3. If the IRS involvement is really that of "..a separate, federal agency..." then why does the ODOL ruleset for this topic derive from the IRS ruleset? LINK TO EXAMPLE

Exactly how?

Show us your method

Exactly how did the ODOL attorneys decide against "employee"?

From their 11/1/2022 letter:
"Our agency's investigative officers reached this conclusion after a thorough investigation, based on the weight of the evidence submitted, and in view of the numerous balancing factors set forth in the provisions of Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 380:30-1-2."
Hmmm... Sounds like these might be the deciding factors:

  1. "thorough investigation"
  2. "weight of the evidence"
  3. "numerous balancing factors"

Maybe I'm biased, but those sound vague. They could mean whatever [a former boss] or ODOL wants them to mean.

Don't know what to say about "numerous balancing factors." I wonder if either [a former boss]'s pile of money or Lyndon Laemmerhirt's pile of money is a balancing factor?

I've done some investigating on this page that I hope is thorough. Please review this page and make your own decision about evidentiary weight.

Reasons for decision?

Considering the months of work gathering and submitting evidence, "CONTRACTOR" was a shock. Here are a few guesses:



Money and power

The hotshots at NuMSP were talkative when ODOL was processing my wage claim. They were eager to stop me from claiming my right to be safe from predatory employers. Lyndon Laemmerhirt, Jim Griffith, and the Realize office manager insisted that I was a "contractor." Nowadays, that's how to make someone a victim.

worship of money and power
image by jcomp / Freepik.com

This was before they understood that wage claims are public records. Before they noticed I was on the email thread where Mr. Laemmerhirt tried to use personal influence on the ODOL employee handling my claim.

Now, the top-level executives are quiet. I will always wonder if there a moment when they saw my submitted evidence stacking up and wished they had not organized an anti-worker strategy.

I did good work at Realize: Our customers were happy, and my managers indicated they were happy. Not a single "HR" write-up and very few sick days. Most employers are glad to have a worker like that.

I believe that [a former boss]'s decisions cost the company thousands of dollars. This places the Michael Jaudes event in a new perspective. When Mr. Jaudes submitted his resignation, [a former boss] and the Realize office manager tried to withhold $134.14 in wages, despite the risk of exposing the company to legal problems. Mr. Jaudes described an email from the Realize office manager falsely implying that internal office procedure could override state and federal law.

Fortunately for Mr. Jaudes, this was an instance where the Oklahoma Department of Labor decided to defend an employee from illegal action by an employer. Withholding accrued vacation pay is forbidden by law AKA "illegal."

What might explain why managers at NuMSP have refused to return illegally-withheld wages even after the IRS ruled me an employee? Withholding wages for completed work-hours is forbidden by law AKA "illegal."



UPDATE 10/15/22:
The StoneBridge Group website now has a main graphic on its splash page. For more than two years there was only a blank spot underneath the top navigation, after Realize management inexplicably postponed retrieving a photo file from the clients. The new graphic is a high-quality photo showing the Tulsa County Family Center for Juvenile Justice at dusk, and includes part of the Tulsa skyline in the background. See their site at stonebridgegroup.net (new tab/window)



UPDATE 9/28/22:
The personal Facebook pages for my former employer and his wife have disappeared. I don't know whether or not NuMSP directed the removal, or why.


UPDATE 9/20/22:
The "Leadership" page at the NuMSP website has disappeared. There is still a link to it in the footer, but clicking there goes to "Company Goals" instead. Also, the LinkedIn page for CEO Jim Griffith now says he's working somewhere else.

So, who is the new NuMSP CEO?

Not sure. LinkedIn lists a "national director" named Scott Ostergard in the Ashburn, Virginia location (not the New Jersey offices with other executive managers).

Here's what that page looked like (click open/close) ...
Leadership page deleted from NuMSP website
Leadership page deleted from NuMSP website


 

UPDATE:
The PetroSource web presence is restored, thanks to a Tulsa company named Direct Allied Agency. This is the kind of professional customer service that PetroSource should have gotten from Realize/NuMSP. Please visit their new site at petrosourcellc.net (new tab/window). Or, visit the developers at directallied.com.
I was surprised Becky an Charles did not use their domain name "accountingforenergy.com" as first planned. It's possible that Realize/NuMSP refused to cooperate with pointing PetroSource's domain at the new Direct Allied site. I'm not sure.

This was the almost-completed website I discussed with my employer and his manager at NuMSP, believing they were going to have the NuMSP "web team" complete the final step. All that was left was for PetroSource to approve the Careers page and authorize publishing.

Here's what may have happened instead: Either Realize dropped communication with Becky and Charles at PetroSource and just let them work it out on their own, or the two were falsely told that I quit and left their website in an unknown condition. It's also possible that the office manager was directed to contact Becky and Charles and tell them something misleading.

If anyone reading this is affiliated with PetroSource and knows the specifics, I would really be interested to know.


"Employee"

Date: 07/14/2022
Form: SS-8
Firm name: Woods & Woods LLC [Realize Information Technology]

Dear Taxpayer:
We received your Form SS-8, Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding, for services performed 2017 to 2021

We determined that you are an employee for federal employment tax purposes.

Dawn Beehler, Program Manager
Internal Revenue Service SB/SE, Compliance
SS-8 Program
Holtsville, NY

+++++++++++

Date: 8/3/2022
Form: SS-8
Firm name: NuMSP LLC

Dear Taxpayer:
We received your Form SS-8, Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding, concerning your work relationship with the firm shown above from 2021 to 2021

We concluded you performed services for the firm as an employee.

Dawn Beehler, Program Manager
Internal Revenue Service SB/SE, Compliance
SS-8 Program
Holtsville, NY

IRS analysis

My former employer's aggression and my detailed response were such that the IRS used this case for a published analysis. The agency occasionally does this, if the result is useful for the public. CLICK here for a searchable PDF summarizing how they decided that the "contractor" claims were false. ("Woods & Woods LLC" in the PDF stands for Realize/NuMSP. Woods & Woods LLC is a "paper company" used to retain ownership of a business entity.)



"Hey, Krystal!"

Lyndon Laemmerhirt
Lyndon Laemmerhirt

Hey, Krystal! If there is no connection between all the timesheets I submitted and what I was paid, then why did you or [bossfirstname] reduce my PetroSource hours in ConnectWise? If this question is perplexing, then get in touch with Lyndon Laemmerhirt, NuMSP VP of Finance. He's a highly-paid expert.

BEFORE: Under the supervision of Realize [company scheduler]; 33.04 hours worked (in box labeled Time Budget Analysis) CLICK IMAGE to enlarge (new tab/window)
AFTER: Under the supervision of Realize Office Manager Krystal Staring; 23.09 hours gone (box labeled Time Budget Analysis) CLICK IMAGE to enlarge (new tab/window)
ConnectWise time sheet showing 33.04 hours worked on the PetroSource website; 3.04 over the max.
ConnectWise time sheet showing only 9.95 hours worked on the PetroSource website; 23.09 hours disappeared.

Clearly communicated

"It was clearly communicated to Keith Purtell that he was an independent contractor and not an employee."
—Lyndon Laemmerhirt, VP of Finance at NuMSP

Mr. Laemmerhirt was not around during my first month at Realize I.T. Instead, he was Director of Finance and Operations at Awareness Tech, a Connecticut software company.

It was shortly before my first four weeks on the job in 2017 that [a former boss] pitched his idea for a new Web Services department. He based it on repeated client requests. On my actual first day, [a former boss] described my role as "part time."

He did not mention any other job descriptors like "full time" or "intern" or "contractor" or "subcontractor" or "independent contractor" or "seasonal" or whatever.

His office manager and accountant said that because the new Web Services was being marketed as a DBA, they had to send me 1099 forms for my yearly income tax.

I believed her.

All this was four years before NuMSP arrived on the scene and Lyndon Laemmerhirt became aware of the employees in their Tulsa office. Considering that [a former boss] and the Realize office manager communicated the nature of my job in May 2017, during which Mr. Laemmerhirt had never heard of Realize, how does he know what was communicated and what was clear about it? How could he possibly have any direct information?


Context

Ned Nielsen of Tulsa, Oklahoma

I have avoided accounting work my entire life. In high school, I asked a family member to fill out my summer job tax forms. After high school, out on my own, my landlord's brother Ned did my yearly taxes for $20. Thereafter, I either found another small operator or went to places like H&R Block, or automated income-tax websites. My employers gave me standard W-2s, and I didn't read the fine print. I trusted my employers.


Not known to NuMSP?

Video surveillance

From May of 2017 to shortly before March 2021, Realize Information Technology had most employees under constant surveillance.

Two cameras were aimed at the hardware technicians downstairs, one was aimed into the lobby where my desk and another was located, and a fourth camera outside faced the staircase that led up to the lobby and administrative offices.

Four large-screen monitors in [a former boss]'s office displayed the video signal, and a similar bank was near the company scheduler's desk in the next room.

I don't know how long the surveillance was in place before I began work there in 2017.

The video gear was quietly removed in early 2021 shortly before [a former boss] invited NuMSP execs to Tulsa to consider purchasing RIT.


What is a 'contractor'?

Originally, a contractor was a person who ran their own small business, found health care, and controlled their own vacation and sick leave. They earned enough to set aside money for unemployment, and earned enough to set aside money for income tax. The contractor was a smaller business that worked for a larger business.

A contractor's service is distinct; it has no visible connection with the normal activities of the larger business. Example: Selling hot dogs outside a brain surgeon's office.

The mental image during this public discussion was that of a super-entrepreneur with full funding and lots of business savvy. To this day, words like "entrepreneurial opportunity" show up in business and legal documents about contractors. Of course, there is a tiny minority of operators who fit such a description. For this small group, someone invented the IRS 1099 form.

It didn't take long for unsavory employers to realize they could use the 1099—designed for fully-funded entrepreneurs—to remove worker legal protection and cut financial corners: Misclassification. This literally hurts our nation. (Cost of misclassification; new tab/window)

U.S. Dept. of Labor:  "Misclassification denies employees access to critical benefits and protections they are entitled to—overtime, the minimum wage, family and medical leave and, in some cases, safe workplaces. It generates substantial losses to the U.S. Treasury and the Social Security and Medicare funds, as well as to state unemployment insurance and workers' compensation funds. It cheats every taxpayer. It undermines the entire economy. In fact, the misclassification of employees as independent contractors presents one of the most serious workplace problems in our economy today."

In short, "misclassification" is a polite word to describe predatory employers illegally taking money and stripping working Americans of legal protections.

County District Attorney prosecuting employers who take from working Americans
Charging employers who steal  –photo by Tyger Williams

Ethical prosecutors cracking down: In most states, prosecutors protect working Americans by stopping the bad guys. One example is Jack Stollsteimer in Pennsylvania, a DA who is making sure that criminal employers get punished and victims are compensated.

That's rarely the case in Oklahoma. Police and DAs pretend they don't see what's going on. It would take a vigorous search of state media to find much about law-breaking employers getting arrested. The Oklahoma Department of Labor occasionally helps a working Oklahoman, but only enough to give some credibility to their published statements about enforcing labor laws.

Destroying fairness

Misclassification illegally deprives workers of basic rights, protections, and benefits guaranteed to employees such as:
1-The right to be paid minimum wage,
2-The right to overtime pay,
3-Time and mode-of-pay protections,
4-Protection against illegal deductions from pay,
5-Unemployment compensation,
6-Temporary disability benefits,
7-Family leave insurance benefits,
8-Workers' compensation,
9-Family leave and earned sick leave.

Cheating employers bypass the Fair Labor Standards Act, says this EPI article on "(In)dependent Contractor Misclassification" (new tab/window)

Harvard Business Review states that employment "... is inevitably an unequal bargaining relationship" and people deserve to be protected. (new tab/window)

So, for any employer who really, really wants to screw his employees, one easy way to do that is to find a way to make them into "contractors."

Tragically, many workers who should be classified as employees simply do not realize that they have been wrongfully classified as independent contractors [new tab/window].

photo of older black man/by Dapo Abideen on Pexels Employers have enormous advantage over marginalized people. If the job applicant is of color, or female, or LGBTQ, or non-Christian, or older than 40, then they are already struggling to find employment.

Malicious employers look at the struggling job-seeker and see opportunity. They hire that person who is grateful to finally get a job, and then the employer subjects the worker to abuse. That's a profound lack of ethics.

Another ploy is to create a new category of marginalized person—like "contractor"—and find a way to shoehorn people into the category. The employer can then say "I don't have to be fair or honest with John Doe because he's a contractor. Everybody knows contractors don't have rights, and contractors don't deserve to be paid."


Removing worker rights

Why would [a former boss] want to strip an employee of legal protections? Why would NuMSP VP Lyndon Laemmerhirt help [boss/owner] block that employee's efforts to be paid for work-hours completed? The following link may illustrate why.

Starbucks forced to recognize labor union (new tab/window)

After years of Starbucks corporate abuse, employees across the U.S. are fighting for fairness. The National Labor Relations Board stepped in at this Buffalo, N.Y., location and forced rich owners to cooperate with the union. This deprives the millionaire owners of opportunities to abuse working Americans. With Starbucks employees unionized, owners will have less cash for yachts.

The Realize owner and Mr. Laemmerhirt can look at this example and see themselves being publicly embarrassed in a similar manner.

It won't be the first time: According to former Realize technician Michael Jaudes, [a former boss] and the office manager allegedly attempted to take $134.14 dollars from him as he tried to resign.

REFERENCE: [Realize office manager] 4/23/19 message to Michael Jaudes edited for brevity:

Michael

Realize Information Technology LLC is an employer at will. RIT currently does not owe any accrued vacation to be paid to you due to our policy regarding resignations without (2) weeks notice. If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact me by email,

Thank you
[Realize office manager]
REALIZE Information Technology, LLC
3303 S Harvard Ave Suite D
Tulsa, OK 74135

The ODOL blocked this effort by the office manager and owner to use an internal policy to overrule federal laws governing vacation pay.

New-employee orientation

My last employer—Jeff Woods—said on my first day May 22, 2017, that my job would be "... part‑time until Brent [Fields] gets the sales up." In the months and years afterward, he never mentioned the word "contractor."

During the first several weeks, his office manager walked over to my desk to instruct me on how to submit the company's standard paper timesheets. She showed me where to find the Excel spreadsheet all the techs used. She then said "Your tax forms will look different than what you are used to, because [bossfirstname] is running Luke 5 as a DBA." (Doing Business As)

"Luke 5 Marketing" (archived OR image ) was the original operating name [a former boss] created for his new Web Services department.

But, according to the IRS, a business that is a DBA is not required to send out 1099 forms.

Note that Web Services was always advertised as a department, an integral part of Realize Information Technology; never as an outside business or as outside their computer business. Here's a link to their website on that, and also a PDF version in case the web page mysteriously disappears.

Management at Realize Information Technology (NuMSP) never spoke about or documented any of the other employee categories: Full-time, temp, seasonal, contractor, intern.

Off-the-clock

"Admin time"

One of the most effective ways to get free labor at Realize/NuMSP was "admin time." When management didn't want to pay an employee for completed work-hours, they could retroactively declare the work to be "admin time."

This happened once when I teamed up with the hardware techs to solve a DNS problem, but for now I'll focus on more common instances.

Among the minority of businesses using "billable hours" accounting, only things like trivial office work are considered admin time. Under the original owner at Realize, it was a way to reduce payroll expenditures.

When Realize switched from paper timesheets to digital (ConnectWise Manage) in 2019, I got instructions from our company scheduler. She showed me how to set up my timesheet with the entire day labeled "Admin" by default. The only way for me to get paid was to prove the client had specifically requested in writing that I do a task, even if the client was [a former boss]. I submitted a written report on this problem to my employer at the one-year mark of my employment.

The total cash value of "Admin time" that accumulated on my timesheets at Realize was $86,948. That's an estimated 3,477.92 work-hours at $25 per hour. ( Most recent estimate as of September 2022 / download PDF )

A competent business model would have made certain I was paid for all completed work-hours.

"Admin time" became another word for off-the-clock.

"Federal law requires employers to pay non-exempt employees for all the time they are "suffered or permitted to work." When an employer requires or allows an employee to work certain hours, they are effectively "permitting" that employee to work and are required by law to compensate the employee for their hours worked." —Employment and Consumer Law Group at eclaw.com

It's safe to say Realize/NuMSP has gone far beyond "suffered or permitted to work."

Lifestyle decision

[A former boss] told me during recruitment that he prepared for about two years to respond to his clients' requests for web services. I confirmed that when I started pulling together the pieces.

He paid someone to build a WordPress site under the name that would be the DBA for web services: Luke 5 Marketing. Then he took me to lunch and sold the whole idea, with the intent of me being his lead web developer. Six months in, he decided not to hire a salesman.

"[company scheduler] and I talked last night and decided that hiring a salesman would have a negative effect on our lifestyle."

This may be the management decision that doomed web services.



Getting away with it?

SS-8 statute of limitations

The Internal Revenue Service processed the SS-8 form I submitted, which stated I was misclassified as an "independent contractor." The IRS issued letters of response in late July 2022 and early August 2002, both concluding I worked as an employee. The second letter was because my employer was purchased by a larger company during my last year.

However, justice may not apply for my first one-to-two years. Although I will be compensated for some of the income tax I paid that my employer should have withheld from my paychecks, the corrective process is limited by federal statute. Realize/NuMSP will get off scott free for one or two of the first years I worked, due to time elapsed until the SS-8 was submitted.

That will leave me without compensation simply because I was unfamiliar with the employee/contractor matter and did not know to file a 1040X to protect my rights during SS-8 processing. And, because NuMSP lacks the decency to make a correction after the federal government issued their decision.

Of course, [a former boss] and the office manager were familiar with all of these matters and set up the 1099 land mine (using a 1099 tax form for me because it enables employers to strip employees of legal rights). And, NuMSP VP of Finance Lyndon Laemmerhirt knew about it when he organized several other executive managers to dogpile me in front of the Oklahoma Department of Labor, determined to make sure I was not treated fairly in Oklahoma.

The net effect will be that at least $2,459 of my paid income tax will remain an uncompensated loss due to [a former boss], the Realize office manager, and NuMSP execs like Lyndon Laemmerhirt, Jim Griffith, Parag Ramaiya, and Katie Kelly.

NuMSP was founded by Melih Abdulhayoglu, who has not intervened in the spectacle caused by his managers' actions.

When I wrote an article several years ago about the 2016 "Owasso Tech Job" scam*, I said that rich kids like AppleOne temp agency and their local manager Bill Bryan prioritized "keeping the money" no matter what. Not even public exposure or law enforcement action will motivate corrupt corporations to return illegally taken money. That is still true at most businesses.

All that said, there are penalties for employers who misclassify. Here is an outline from JustWorks.com:

$50 for each Form W-2 that the employer failed to file because of classifying workers as an independent contractor.

Since the employer failed to withhold income taxes, it faces penalties of 1.5% of the wages, plus 40% of the FICA taxes (Social Security and Medicare) that were not withheld from the employee and 100% of the matching FICA taxes the employer should have paid. Interest is also accrued on these penalties daily from the date they should have been deposited.

A Failure to Pay Taxes penalty equal to 0.5% of the unpaid tax liability for each month up to 25% of the total tax liability.

If the IRS suspects fraud or intentional misconduct, it can impose additional fines and penalties. For instance, the employer could be subjected to penalties that include 20% of all of the wages paid, plus 100% of the FICA taxes, both the employee's and the employer's share.

Criminal penalties of up to $1,000 per misclassified worker and one year in prison can be imposed as well. In addition, the person responsible for withholding taxes could also be held personally liable for any uncollected tax.


Where are the projects?

[a former boss]'s attorney was proud to present a sequence of 1099 forms to the Oklahoma DOL.

The attorney didn't mention the significance of using such forms without warning the employee that the purpose of a 1099 is to strip working Oklahomans of basic rights. In fact, this is why the IRS has prioritized its processing of misused 1099 forms.

The Realize/NuMSP 1099 forms reveal what salary [a former boss] thought I deserved for yearly income.

2017   $8,034.11
2018  $12,450.55
2019  $16,782.45
2020  $19,468.82
2021   $8,871.65
----------------
      $65,607.58 TOTAL
divided by $25/hour
	  2,624.30 hours worked

Each yearly salary looks unusually low, but remember I believed that I was helping my friend-from-church launch his new Web Services department. I believed his success would also be my success.

For at least the last two years I was there, I used much free time to research the area job market, looking for a tech company that hired web developers and had dropped the practice of blocking past-40 candidates. To be clear; people of color and also women have similar problems getting hired in tech and being paid fairly. I am not some rare case.

The long-term result of what-the-boss-thought-I-deserved is that I had to file for early retirement in late 2021 to avoid bankruptcy. The problem with early retirement is that your monthly checks are much less and the income cut is irreversible. I'm literally stuck with it for the rest of my life. I have also had to apply at a food pantry for monthly help with groceries, because there is not enough money for food. Between being past age 40 and meeting a bossman with 1099 forms, it's a rough result.

Secondly, the amounts of money paid out also reveals hours worked. This is important because, if you subtract the 13 websites (projects) I built, that leaves a large number of hourly-wage tasks completed. And, if you have ever delved into the process of distinguishing employees from "contractors," you know that "contractors" only do projects, not hourly work. Hourly work like CarePrecise. CarePrecise where months of hourly digital timesheets were magically compressed into a one-line entry.

Main office vs work from home

Up until COVID-19 became a public health issue in 2020, I had worked at the regular office on Harvard Avenue in Tulsa, with the exception of several bad-weather days. After COVID, on about Aug. 3, 2020, I asked my employers if I could work two days a week from home (usually Tuesday/Thursday) to reduce my overall Tulsa-metro exposure to the virus. They agreed. That lasted until 8/27/2021.

There were 1,559 calendar days between May 22, 2017 and Aug. 27, 2021. If you subtract 222 Saturdays, 222 Sundays and 49 holidays (493 total non-workdays), that leaves 1,066 work days. (The PDF math file over-counts; we worked Juneteenth.)

1,559 days minus 493 weekends and holidays = 1,066 days
Two days a year off for illness (8 days) = 1,058 days;

Of that 1,058 days, 952 days working in the Harvard office; and ~106 "COVID days" working at home.
Work days at Harvard office = 89.98%
Work days at the home office = 10.02%

Yet, [the former boss] told the ODOL that I never worked at the Harvard Avenue office, that I only worked from home. Tell that to my managers at Realize/NuMSP who saw me there more than 89% of the time! Tell that to all the other techs who saw me there, and the customers who saw me there, and the delivery persons, and the people who had businesses next door!

2,324 hours of hourly labor

I built 13 websites at Realize/NuMSP, for a total of about 300 hours in fixed-fee "project" time. Subtracted from my total hours worked at Realize/NuMSP, that leaves 2,324.30 hours submitted in the hourly category. Which makes sense, because otherwise, if I was doing all "projects" (like a "contractor") then [a former boss] and his office manager would have no reason to tell me to fill out timesheets every day.

The two of them tried to sneak around this blunder during the wage claim. They said that they only put me on the same timesheets as all the other techs so that I could use company timesheets to organize my time. Like it was a personal favor. With $91,337 of my wage earnings in their pockets, and a 1099 tax form to strip me of legal protections, this is not the company that does personal favors.

[former employer] and his office manager apparently tried a similar stunt when they got caught forging invoices. A state document attributed to the office manager claimed that the fake invoices were created as a favor. If that was true, then the invoice-creating would have started in 2017 when I was hired, instead of four years later, after NuMSP was in the picture. Also, if the office manager creating fake "Keith Purtell" invoices was normal, she and [bossfirstname] would not have kept it hidden from me. NOTE: A reminder that NuMSP's HR figured out this was going on and alerted me in an April 2021 email.

Each time [a former boss] signed my paychecks or reviewed the yearly payroll tax forms, I believe that he could not help but know he was placing me in or near poverty. As an employer with extensive experience hiring people, I believe he also understood that I was past age 40 and that getting an additional tech job at that age was almost impossible. And, he knew how my salary compared to that of his full-time technicians and other technicians in and around Tulsa.

[a former boss] knew that as someone past age 60, I had entered a time in life where it is critically important to set aside part of wages for old age. He knew that his many actions to cause me financial losses—and those related decisions at NuMSP—would have painful consequence for years to come, as I continue to struggle to recover from the financial losses and unpaid taxes.

[a former boss] also knew I had no access to health care in the midst of a global pandemic. I once brought up this topic with him. He suggested I sign up for SoonerCare, then went about his business. SoonerCare is an Oklahoma state program for women who are pregnant or nursing a child; or that's what I was told by their staff when I began asking questions about why I did not qualify. As the person who controlled whether or not any sales was done to fund the Realize Web Services department, my former employer had all the information necessary to know how his inaction was harming both me and the company.

No other employer in my life has behaved in a manner remotely like Realize/NuMSP. Frankly, I don't believe any of my other employers would consider such an idea.

It's important to see what happened in context. This is not just about [a former boss] and one employee, with the latter saying "Poor little me." This is one example of something that happens thousands of times every day all across the United States: Managers, owners and CEOs exploiting working Americans and often avoiding the consequences.



Cost of wage theft VS Robberies
Cost of wage theft VS robberies 2012 United States
"In 2012, there were 292,074 robberies of all kinds, including bank robberies, residential robberies, convenience store and gas station robberies, and street robberies. The total value of the property taken in those crimes was $340,850,358. By contrast, the total amount recovered for the victims of wage theft who retained private lawyers or complained to federal or state agencies was at least $933 million in 2012. This is almost three times greater than all the money stolen in robberies that year. Further, the nearly $1 billion successfully reclaimed by workers is only the tip of the wage-theft iceberg, since most victims never sue and never complain to the government." —EPI describing the graphic above (link in new tab/window)


And, don't forget: Funding political campaigns to be sure there is no law enforcement to stop white-collar crime. For all the "tough on crime" chatter, American police consistently look the other way when it comes to the business sector's all-out assault on working people.

Realize/NuMSP yearly payroll was estimated at $372,000, or $53,142.85 per employee (data from lookupcompanyrevenue.com). That means [a former boss] apparently decided—via executive decision and by killing sales—that I deserved 75.31% less than his other technicians. My average yearly salary 2017-2021 at Realize/NuMSP was $13,121.

I took some heat from the rich kids for using the word "skim." I'll try to clarify... Business owners have the ability to carve out a huge portion of profits for themselves and leave little to pay employees. I've only seen that twice; once at a south-Tulsa startup and later at my last job. In fact, the startup did that so aggressively that the business collapsed, but that's a different event. The former employer was more practical while maintaining a chasm between his wages and his employee's wages. So, skim was imprecise. The correct term is lion's share.

The rich kids have also said that I described the former scheduler as a "gold digger." Bear in mind this is the same scheduler I have consistently described as professional and ethical. The alleged term is spiteful, and I've heard it used in a few television shows. I have not spoken it and, until right now, I have not written it. However, I have a guess what may have triggered the rich kids' fantasy about what I put on this web page. A now-removed paragraph stated that the two female managers working alongside the bossman were beneficiaries of the bossman's process of refusing to pay for completed work-hours. Think about it: Once he withheld my wages, that money—more than $91,000—became part of the same financial pool from which the other managers are paid. It's tainted money. My curiosity about what the scheduler and office manager think about being paid with tainted money was valid, but I removed the text in case the scheduler believes the bossman's version of reality.

Considering that I was deliberately paid less than others, and a series of related problems that took place, it's not difficult to see why I spent at least two years looking for another job.

Because [a former boss] and I were originally friends from church, he knew details about my life outside his business, including whether or not I had another job. According to the U.S. Department of Labor "...the term 'independent contractor' refers to workers who, as a matter of economic reality, are not economically dependent on their employer for work and are in business for themselves." This is crucial, because [a former boss] knew all along that, as a post-40 technologist, I only had the one job as his employee. If I had been in business for myself, [a former boss] would have heard about it from me and from others during his daily interaction in the business community.

Also, the amounts of money paid out also reveals hours worked. This is important because, if you subtract the 13 websites (projects) I built, that leaves a large number of hourly-wage tasks completed.

This is why I have asked "Where are the projects?" Because, there are clearly not enough projects (websites) built for [a former boss] and the Realize office manager to keep shouting "contractor."

If you have ever delved into the process of distinguishing employees from "contractors," you know that "contractors" only do projects, not hourly work ... like CarePrecise ... CarePrecise where months of hourly digital timesheets were magically compressed into a one-line entry.

NuMSP probably doesn't have any other offices whose hours in ConnectWise are mysteriously compressed like this, yet they have climbed onto the "contractor" band-wagon with [a former boss] and his office manager. I'm left with the impression that these well-paid managers think alike.

But, wait; wouldn't the new owners of Realize Information Technology make better business decisions? Including fair wages?

Uh ... no.

In fact, NuMSP liked [a former boss]'s management style so much that they jumped in with both feet to declare that I did not deserve to be paid for all my work-hours and that, furthermore, I also did not deserve to be protected from illegal actions directed at me by any Realize/NuMSP manager. It's also possible they exerted behind-the-scenes influence on the ODOL to have me declared a non-employee.

How do I know that depriving me of normal worker rights was a prime motivation for putting me on a 1099 tax form? Because, the instant I filed a wage claim for missing wages, the rich kids shouted "contractor" as loud as they could. It was their first stop.

Even worse, NuMSP honchos have recently become completely non-responsive to both law enforcement and public exposure. In the latter case, they continue to stonewall all communication about my unpaid wages, described elsewhere here. And when the IRS formally declared in July/August 2022 that I was an employee, NuMSP refused to reverse any of their decisions made during the time they were insisting that I did not deserve wages or protection under the law.

Thumbing their noses at law enforcement says a lot about character. They seem to be waiting for me to bring a lawsuit against them, knowing full well that I can't afford a trial attorney after losing at least $91,000. Especially since they themselves helped my financial circumstances reach the current crisis state.

Why the drop?

Notice the drop in earnings between 2020 and 2021 on the chart above? If Web Services was growing, then my income should have gone up, right?

My average monthly income in 2020 was $1,622.40. After more than a year of [a former boss] inexplicably placing numerous projects on HOLD, my average monthly income dropped to $1,108.95.

The loss caused by the owner's unexplained holds on projects was ~$4,427.55. (Comparing 2020 and 2021, and removing four months from the equation due to my resignation in August 2021.)

Video on Misclassification

Financial con­trol (physical evi­dence)
[misclass­ific­ation]

NuMSP, a managed service provider, purchased Realize Information Technology in early 2021. I saw that as a fix for some serious problems. I immediately contacted Human Resources asking if the new owners might devote some sales energy to the struggling Web Services department in Tulsa.

It didn't take the HR people long to figure out that I believed I was some kind of stakeholder in the success of Realize. Whereas, they knew from talking to [a former boss] and the Realize office manager that those two had a very different opinion of me, which they had concealed.

The other way HR figured this out: For years, I had been submitting timesheets with both hourly and project work alongside the other techs. Also, about the same time as the purchase, the Realize office manager began using Realize time and materials to create "Keith Purtell invoices" as if they came from me, and sent them to NuMSP; yet concealed this from me. I'm guessing that concerned the HR people a great deal.

NuMSP HR decided to spill the beans. The opportunity came in April of 2021 when I asked a question about getting paid by NuMSP.

Human Resources manager Nicole Kelly wrote to me, stating that local management had begun to describe me as a "contractor" behind the scenes, and that my employer should have admitted this when the local Realize office was purchased:
"...you are still a contractor. This should have been disclosed to you at closing. Please send an invoice to your manager and payables@numsp.com."

Previous to the NuMSP purchase, this employer had paid me through the same submitted-timesheet method as all technicians. No invoices. (email)

you are still a contractor. This should have been disclosed to you at closing
Jim Griffith, CEO
Jim Griffith, CEO

NOTE: This email from Nicole Kelly is the only indication of ethical standards to come out of NuMSP since the crisis emerged. Considering how vigorously I have criticized company managers in this web page, it's important to note that two administrative people with Realize/NuMSP were completely professional and ethical: Nicole Kelly and the scheduler at Realize.

In contrast, [a former boss]'s and the Realize office manager's deliberate misclassification of me at Realize/NuMSP has been endorsed by most of the NuMSP executive management:

  • VP of Finance Lyndon Laemmerhirt
  • CEO/President/COO Jim Griffith
  • Senior Manager, Finance and Operations Katie Kelly
  • Financial Planning Analyst Parag Ramaiya

(I'm not clear about VP of Operations and co-founder Adam Muller, who was a witness to me taking multiple steps to see that the PetroSource website was properly completed, but has since gone silent.)

Adam Muller
Adam Muller

One good thing came out of this HR email. When I received it, I opened Outlook and did a search of four years and three months of email traffic, looking for the word "contractor." There was only one mention: This email itself from Nicole Kelly.

From her April note until my last week in August 2021, I combed through my work PC for anything having to do with my employment, and my efforts to get [a former boss]'s Web Services running and healthy. That search helped make many official documents available after I later discovered wages missing from my last paychecks.

If it had not been for this one high-ranking HR person at MAVeCap/NuMSP, this dispute probably would have consisted of me pitting my word against the word of a powerful businessman and his elite associates.

General (physical ​evidence)
[misclass­ific­ation]

Working for Realize/NuMSP was my only job during the full term of my employment. (tax forms)

Paid (physical evi­dence)
[deliberate ​misclassification]

Realize/NuMSP paid me at both fixed and hourly rates. Building a new website was fixed-fee, but projects like CarePrecise, monthly newsletter, website maintenance and assisting the hardware techs were hourly. (daily paper timesheets, daily digital timesheets in ConnectWise, and a price sheet)

Financial con­trol (physical evi­dence)
[misclass­ific­ation]

I was initially paid out of a bank account the owner set aside for "Luke 5 Marketing" which was a DBA for this employer. [a former boss] tired of doing Web Services as a DBA and folded it into Realize, and apparently used a regular business account.

The Realize/NuMSP attorney made a great deal of noise about these bank accounts, but I was never made aware of behind-the-scenes accounting and cannot be held responsible.

The Realize/NuMSP attorney responded to my wage claim by telling the Oklahoma DOL that "Realize and Mr. Purtell did not use paychecks or paystubs."

So, I sent the DOL images of several paychecks and paystubs sent by Realize/NuMSP. Suddenly, the Realize/NuMSP attorney was silent on the topic. (paychecks, paystubs)

Financial con­trol (physical evi­dence)
[misclass­ific­ation]

Realize/NuMSP asserted that I did not report my time as did other employees. But, I subsequently submitted 24 paper timesheets from the era before Realize/NuMSP had digital timekeeping. (I also provided screen captures of my timesheet maintenance within ConnectWise.) A former Realize tech named Michael Jaudes looked at these paper timesheets and said it was "exactly" the same one used by other company techs. Realize/NuMSP then asserted that I was only given a "template." But, each one bore distinct daily records of work I performed. The January 2019 timesheet below shows (fixed-fee and hourly) Web Services work for CarePrecise.com, Holder Total Security, Brookshire Benefits, G.C. Marketing, Realize Information Technology. Suddenly, the Realize/NuMSP attorney was silent on the topic.

If you look at the overview material submitted by the attorney, you'll begin to notice he seems to be trying to convince the Oklahoma DOL that I never did any hourly work. Additional companies for whom I did hourly work: FirstTee Tulsa and Luke 5 Marketing. Although Realize/NuMSP seems to be working hard to deny existence of my hourly work, there's an entire column dedicated to that in my timesheets like the one below. There is a very specific reason the company is so nervous: A person who really is a "contractor" is paid a fixed fee or "flat rate" by the project not by the hour.Also as PDF (new tab/window) (timesheets)

timesheet-paper-hourly-013119

Financial con­trol (physical evi­dence)
[misclass­ific­ation]

Realize Accountant/Office Manager Krystal Staring admitted in a Jan. 6, 2022 letter to the Dept. of Labor that she had created several invoices purporting to represent me;
"I then used this information to create invoices/bills on his behalf for accounting recording purposes...".

Clearly, business managers cannot create fake invoices for an employee and without the employee's express consent, include the employee's name in such a way as to suggest the employee created the invoice himself, and then submit the invoice to a government agency as "proof" that the employee was a contractor.

NuMSP apparently told the Realize office manager and [a former boss] that in order to have correct procedure, there had to be invoices from said worker. So, possibly, the office manager received instructions to create them herself.

Essentially, [a former boss] and his office manager were so eager to make me a "contractor" that the office manager made up several invoices and sent them to NuMSP. There was no one else there doing this type of work.

Up until about April of 2021, neither I or this employer had discussed invoices; only my submitted timesheets. Furthermore, the ones that the Realize office manager created used some kind of financial software that let her arrange financial information in boxes in a way that I cannot duplicate with software to which I have access. It's seems clear that she sat in her office and typed them up with Realize/NuMSP software. Was [former boss] hoping that the invoices Staring sent without my knowledge were somehow retroactive over four years and three months?

There was an odd incident during my final stretch there when I was at my desk and the office manager walked in. She didn't look at me but placed a short stack of paper on a small desk nearby. She said something about "examples" or perhaps "samples" and then quickly returned to her office. The stack contained what looked like an imagined version of a "Keith Purtell invoice." But I was busy trying to save Web Services, and the five-second encounter seemed like an annoyance. She never brought it up again, but I saw those documents later during the wage claim.

There is no legal authority in the nation that would tolerate this kind of shenanigans. (letter)

I then used this information to create invoices/bills on his behalf for accounting recording purposes

Notice her wording: "I never falsified any timesheets or payroll sheets for Mr. Purtell as he was not an employee."

Is the office manager saying that she never falsified documents because it is illegal? Or, is she saying that, since she started claiming in late 2021 that I was not an employee, altering documents is not "falsifying"? If I was never an employee, why go to the trouble in August 2021 of reducing my PetroSource hours from 33.04 to 9.95?

It seems that "as he was not an employee" means Realize can alter any work-hour records, anytime.

This raises a new question: Why spend so much time monkeying with the records of a contractor? Why did Realize/NuMSP spend four years and three months recording "contractor" hours in the same system where they recorded employee hours?

"[independent contractors] now make up nearly half of workers at most technology firms, and in the United States these companies can save $100,000 a year per worker by using contractors in place of full-time employees. What's not to love?"
beebole.com/blog/time-tracking-for-independent-contractors

Companies like TimeCamp and QuickBooks make it clear that contractor time must be recorded independently. Not on internal systems like the paper timesheets and digital records at Realize/NuMSP.

Now, [a former boss] and the Realize office manager have back-pedaled; made some of those records disappear. Statements by [a former boss]'s corporate attorney suggest Realize/NuMSP has deleted my time records.

In the initial Dec. 20, 2021, response to my wage claim, my former employer opened with a 31-paragraph letter. Paragraph #29 ended with the sentence: "Realize has no timecards or payroll records for Mr. Purtell."

Let's think it over.
"...no timecards or payroll records"? Only two things can be going on in the background behind this statement.
Possibility #1-They still have all the timecards and payroll records for me that they were using and I occasionally saw when I was their employee, but they are hoping the ODOL will not call their bluff and send over an investigator.
Possibility #2-[a former boss] and the office manager got together and spent hours shredding every paper timesheet I turned in and every payroll record they generated for me during the span of four years and three months. Then they may have done the same thing with some of my digital timesheets in their new ConnectWise Manage software. NOTE: See comment elsewhere on this page about the word "shredding."

Let's study #1 and #2.
The problem with #1 is that Realize is now owned by NuMSP, which owns these records and could send someone to Tulsa to make sure that all paperwork is in order and complies with the law.
The problem with #2 is that wholesale destruction of so many records is both very illegal and tough to conceal. Here is a short list of people who saw some of these records, even if only in part: The company scheduler, several of [a former boss]'s family members who took jobs at Realize for a while during the time I was an employee there, all the technicians who worked alongside me during those four years and three months (*list below), many Realize customers whose technology I worked on during the four years and three months and who received paperwork containing related information, various accountants hired to do special work outside what Mrs. Staring would ordinarily handle, all the postal carriers and delivery persons who came to the second floor and left or picked up items at the table next to my desk (photo below), and so on.

The benefits of records-destruction for management
#1 [a former boss] doesn't break any major laws and can go on claiming that he has a self-appointed right to switch me from employee to contractor (after I resigned from my job).
#2 Anyone who shows up for an inspection will find barely a trace of paperwork mentioning my name. They would have to get the facts by interviewing the many witnesses.

I will let readers draw their own conclusions. Mine are throughout this page.

I won't distract you folks by going into detail about the bossman's attorney also enclosing a stack of papers in his submission to the ODOL that contained payroll records for me.

If you are thinking that corporate owners at NuMSP were alarmed to see this chaos, you were wrong. Instead of deciding that [top-down-boss] and Staring had exposed the company to unnecessary risk, managers at NuMSP demonstrated that they admired what was going on, and they gave this their full endorsement.

Keith Purtell at normal workstation 3303 S. Harvard Ave. ©2022 Scripps Media, Inc
Keith Purtell, Feb. 1, 2021, at his desk at Realize. Photo by KJRH television. ©2022 Scripps Media, Inc.

*Technicians I worked with as of 2021:


By my count, about 28 people were witnesses to my presence over four years and three months at the Realize office on Harvard Avenue in Tulsa. Most of those would have seen me receiving instructions from management the same as any other employee, and at least eight technicians would have noticed my digital timekeeping records alongside theirs in ConnectWise Manage.

During my wage claim, [a former boss] carefully steered attention away from the idea of having those witnesses testify. I believe he was alarmed to see my last written statement to the ODOL where I continued to offer my screen captures of timesheet tampering for professional inspection. Despite his insistence that the screen captures were fake, the last thing he wanted was an expert looking into those items. That would open the door to more professional testimony.

Between May 22, 2017, and late December of 2019, I and the other "Realize" employees had submitted about 62 bimonthly paper timesheets. The Realize office manager kept them on file. The few times that I needed to check something already submitted, she could open a filing drawer and extract that exact timesheet.

So, [a former boss] and/or the office manager had to make it possible for their attorney to truthfully say "Realize has no timecards or payroll records for Mr. Purtell." Right? How might they do that? Just a guess: A late-afternoon shredding party. NOTE: It's obvious by the wording here that this is a guess as to how 62 months of timesheets ("timecards") could suddenly disappear. I don't know if my first 62 months of paper timesheets were actually shredded or removed to another location, or some other fate. The usage on this web page tries to illustrate what it would take to make the following phrase from the bossman's attorney be true: "Realize has no timecards or payroll records for Mr. Purtell."

Hypothetically, If they shredded six of my timesheets at a time, the destruction would be complete in about 15 minutes. They could have left the office before 6 p.m., as long as no one came upstairs and interrupted. I would assume anyone doing such a thing would lock the door.

By early 2020, we employees were all submitting our daily hours in digital format in ConnectWise Manage. The hours were still calculated twice monthly, so I submitted about 40 digital timesheets (each including multiple daily entries) during the next 19 months and 27 days until [a former boss] "pretend-fired" me on Aug. 27, 2021.


Tools, materials (physical evi­dence)
[misclass­ific­ation]

The Realize/NuMSP attorney kept insisting that I only used equipment that was my personal property. Yet, [a former boss] provided me the standard company technician's desk, chair and PC with Windows installed. This was inside the lobby area of the second floor of the normal location in Tulsa. Not remote.

For four years and three months, my Realize managers, Realize co-workers, Realize clients, and delivery people saw me at that desk.

Well, at least the bossman's attorney got paid. That's more than I can say for myself.

About two years later I purchased two ergonomic items (tall chair, monitor riser) to alleviate pain. Said chair and riser stayed at my office inside the normal Realize location on Harvard Avenue in Tulsa, because that's where I worked. I took home these two items and no others in late August 2021, after submitting two-week notice on Aug. 17, 2021. (emails, photos*)

Clients (physical evi­dence)
[misclass­ific­ation]

[a former boss]
[a former boss]

Realize Information Technology arranged all Web Services clients through existing client contacts (list below; one exception in 2019). Realize customers had been asking about Web Services for years, according to [a former boss] during his recruitment process, so his customers certainly thought of this as part of regular Realize/NuMSP "computer" business.

(During the wage claim, [a former boss] claimed that the work he hired me for had no connection to his regular business. Aside from the fact the [a former boss]'s own customers asked for web services, there is the matter of the domain name; luke5marketing.com. He registered the domain on Feb. 6, 2017, which undercuts his assertions in 2021-2022 that Web Services was unrelated to his existing business and a service I was offering as an "independent contractor." I obviously did not create the domain and website for Web Services 3 months, 17 days before my first day of employment.)

Plus, the domain name was set up through [a former boss]'s GoDaddy account. (Download ICANN "Luke 5" domain registration)

And, the times I helped the hardware techs were smooth sailing, due to the close relationship of our computer skills.

I was recently told that senior Realize/NuMSP tech Joshua Albright is logging into at least one of the sites and making changes per client request. That's a good example of the lack of an extreme difference between hardware computer skills and internet computer skills.

[a former boss]'s assertions don't meet the "hot dog salesman" test.

It's worth noting how I was presented to clients: As the Realize employee doing web work for [a former boss]'s new department. Here is a flyer the owner sent out to their mail list to get the ball rolling (PDF new tab/window). No mention of an outside company or contractor.

Websites built at Realize (NuMSP)
505architects.com[boss/owner]'s "Realize" sales call
accountingforenergy.com[boss/owner]'s "Realize" client PetroSource
adhdok.com[boss/owner]'s "Realize" client
bancsearch.com[boss/owner]'s "Realize" client
bennettcahill.com[boss/owner]'s "Realize" client
brookshirebenefits.com[boss/owner]'s "Realize" client
dirtbusterssweeping.comOwner friends with "Realize" customer
elderpaint.com[boss/owner]'s "Realize" client
nextlevelhealthok.com[boss/owner]'s "Realize" client
newbcounseling.comOwner related to "Realize" customer
phillipsgomez.com[boss/owner]'s "Realize" client
soonertaxservice.com[boss/owner]'s "Realize" client
stonebridgegroup.net[boss/owner]'s "Realize" client
Revisions and maintenance:
firstteetulsa.org[boss/owner]'s "Realize" client
holdersecurity.com (maint+SEO)[boss/owner]'s "Realize" client
onesourceoccmed.com (static site)[boss/owner]'s "Realize" client
realizetech.com (maint+SEO)Internal now controlled by NuMSP web team.
Conversion to mobile-ready:
careprecise.comExternal referred by K. Purtell to [boss/owner]

Length of relationship (physical evi­dence)
[misclass­ific­ation]

I worked for Realize/NuMSP May 2017-Aug 2021 (4 years 3 months) to further [a former boss]'s ambition to respond to numerous client requests for help with web services. (tax forms, emails)

Employee type (testimony, physical evidence)
[misclass­ific­ation]

Brent Fields
Brent Fields

[a former boss]'s recruitment pitch did not mention a specific employee definition, but I knew he had seen my LinkedIn profile showing I only worked for full-time employers. However, on May 22, 2017, my first day at the new job, [a former boss] said the job would be "...part time until Brent [salesman Brent Fields] gets the sales up." (Also, that there was enough office space for two additional web techs if things went well, and that the new Web Services department might someday be spun off as an independent business.) I referred to this part-time status in my one-year report, submitted to [a former boss] on July 17, 2018: "More free time will give me a chance to find an additional part-time job."

Subsequent to my wage claim, [a former boss]'s attorney introduced a term never before mentioned to me by Realize management in four years and three months: "Contractor." This new word was scattered through the company's submissions to the Department of Labor, sometimes in paragraph after paragraph.

Who would go along?

Folks, who would go along with giving up all your rights for the enrichment of a business owner? That's what happens when you are labeled a "contractor" in the United States.

So, if you were looking for work, and an employer walked up and said "I've got an opportunity for you, but you'll be giving up all your legal rights to be a contractor. Oh, and no health care in the midst of a global pandemic and no vacation and no unemployment insurance."

Would you be interested in a "contractor" role? No. Of course not.

Telling me that he was planning to make me a "contractor" would have ruined [a former boss]'s chances of getting a qualified web developer at a two-thirds discount (using the "admin time" device). Being truthful about management's intent would have discouraged me from accepting the job offer.

The same applies to the fact that the boss never offered a written contract, as is strongly advised whenever the intent is to hire an outside vendor. A written contract would have leaked deal-killing details.

Work when (physical evi­dence)
[misclass­ific­ation]

Realize/NuMSP directed me to coordinate all work with the admin person who scheduled all the technicians. At first, the company accountant/office manager directed me to use the same paper timesheet as all the other technicians. Later, when the company switched to ConnectWise Manage, I and the other techs all began entering our timesheets in that digital system. (emails, timesheets)

Work where (testimony, cross-reference)
[misclass­ific­ation]

Realize/NuMSP directed me to work with the other technicians at their normal place of business on Harvard Ave in Tulsa. After COVID, I asked to work about two days per week remotely and was granted permission. (cross-reference emails with testimony)

Work performed how (testimony)

My former employer told me he worked on a very complex education website early in his career, but was not up-to-date on website tools, and allowed me to choose whatever free software might be downloaded. (He refused to budget professional software for his new Web Services department.)

In instances where a person is operating as a separate business—i.e. contractor—then that person probably has their own software, because they are fully funded in their independence and not financially dependent on their employer. As pointed out, at Realize I only “had my own software” by virtue of downloading freebies using the employee PC I was provided at the employee desk I was provided inside the regular Realize place of business, alongside the other employees. Do folks visiting this web page believe that my former employer refusing to invest in his own Web Services department makes me an independent contractor?

The background color of this box is pink because this is the only item I found that might have supported the attorney's "contractor" claims.

Services offered (physical evi­dence)
[misclass­ific­ation]

[a former boss] gave me a list of services most likely to appeal to his clients (web development, SEO, social media management, reputation management, etc.) and directed me to type it up as a price list that included the max work-hours for fixed-fee projects. He or someone under his control also typed up a spreadsheet version of that document, stored in the same folder.

During the wage claim, [a former boss] submitted a screen capture showing that I typed up the price list as "proof" that I created the document. Well, duh. He instructed me to type it, so I typed it.  (price list)

Behavioral control (physical evi­dence)
[misclass­ific­ation]

[a former boss] had a very confident leadership style and expected all technicians to pay close attention to instructions, as was his right as our boss. He determined which clients would get web services, where I would work, and my hours. Because I was not full time (problems with sales), I was allowed latitude on hours, as long as the day's scheduled tasks were completed. (emails, testimony)

Relationship with employer (physical evi­dence)
[misclass­ific­ation]

This collection of 35 emails with [a former boss] (or the company's scheduler) showing the tone of the relationship and my deferring to his authority. These were only available to me due to "COVID days" or "bad weather days" when I worked from home. (emails)

Financial control: Forcing employee to work off-the-clock (physical evidence: emails)
[misclass­ific­ation]

Forcing employee to work off-the-clock

Direct question to the Realize/NuMSP attorney:


"Does your client intend to fall back on the existing climate at Realize; that in a situation where a client makes additional requests that exceed the norm, the employee must take an in-place pay cut or demotion? I ask this partly because I am starting to believe [a former boss] did in fact ignore my advice (during and subsequent to the 505 Architects project) to adopt known industry-standard remedies; either communicate with the client about the time overage, or establish a maximum-revision policy and enforce it consistently."
"I am ready to believe that he did not establish such a policy and wants instead for a Realize worker to 'eat' the cost of client behavior that is outside the control of said worker. One reason the '505' incident is so well remembered is that the client's excessive revision requests forced my wages from $25 per hour to less than $10 per hour. Here is another display of how this in-place pay cut works...

Employee share of fixed-fee $750: 30 hours worked is $25/hour
40 hours worked is $18.75/hour
60 hours worked is $12.50/hour"



Financial control calculating numbers / by icons8

The lack of sales and the employer's aggressive policy on "admin time" left me with a net loss of approximately $86,948 (based on total hours at my desk working on web services). The amount sought in the wage claim (first version) is only about $2,098, while Realize/NuMSP spent at least $4,000 in attorney fees to avoid paying for my completed work-hours.

My yearly income during this time varied from $8,034 to about $19,468. The federal poverty line is $12,880 for a single individual.

At my second I.T. job in 2004—the first one to involve coding—I earned $49,000 peak yearly salary. But, I re-entered the job market past age 40, and my income has declined steadily since then. Placing this in perspective: Typical yearly salary for a Tulsa-based web developer age 20-40 is $72,000 (Robert Half salary report). My post-40 average yearly salary has been $13,121 at Realize/NuMSP. That's an 81.7% penalty for being past 40.

According to Indeed.com, "Average NuMSP IT Support yearly pay in the United States is approximately $48,544, which is 8% below the national average." A part of me hoped that the leadership at NuMSP might think [a former boss] grossly underpaid his web developer. But, after seeing how NuMSP managers have responded to the wage dispute, another part of me suspects they found [a former boss]'s strategy to be clever.

It's true that the last job was part‑time but remember that [a former boss] refused to hire a salesperson to replace Brent Fields. It's also true that employers can trap marginalized workers in sub-standard jobs. Age discrimination is the underlying factor.

[a former boss] knew about the age discrimination I was experiencing because I told him early in our relationship that I was advocating online against age discrimination based on my personal experience, and because any technology employer is aware of the major market trends influencing tech employment.

As an experienced tech employer, he also knew that the prevalent age discrimination was highly likely to prevent me from getting a tech sector job paying anywhere near market value.

Visier report: ageism (click [4MB])

Visier report on tech-sector ageism


 


[a former boss] was paid about $105,000 yearly (± $10,000). His LinkedIn profile says that he retired from Realize I.T. in March of 2021. But ODOL documents show he continued working until ~February of 2022, when my wage claim was completed (perhaps later).

In companies using the business model of "billable hours," admin is typically one‑third of total hours. [a former boss]'s aggressive policy: "If a customer signed a service agreement and gives us written instructions for work, that's billable. Everything else is admin time."

One flaw in this was that it placed internal decisions like purchasing software into the hands of clients; it was impossible. As a result, two-thirds of my work hours ended up being unpaid. [a former boss]'s Web Services department did not exist at Realize when I showed up for work. So, there was a large amount of "admin time" just building the software, procedural and document infrastructure, and [a former boss] got most of it for free. Then, he squandered the opportunity by declining to hire a salesman.

Management ignored my written and verbal reports about serious concerns. By my third year, I had increasingly worried about the situation and [a former boss]'s unwillingness to address ongoing problems. Quitting the job meant going back to another 1.5‑year search with little or no income. I decided instead to pursue success in web services, and get my weekly hours up to 40 (full-time).

Written and verbal request for problem resolution:

  • September 2018: Asked [a former boss] to hire a salesman
    "Could you keep me up to speed re efforts to find a sales person? Whereas this will help RIT, it will also have a very dramatic effect for Luke 5."
    [a former boss] spoke to one candidate, who subsequently withdrew, and the effort was abandoned. I asked why. He said: "[company scheduler] and I talked last night and decided that hiring a salesman would have a negative effect on our lifestyle."
  • July 17, 2018 One-year report:
    "This unpaid 'investment' time has ballooned to about 2/3 of my total hours at Luke 5 Marketing. ... More free time will give me a chance to find an additional part-time job. About 18 hours of each two-week period are billable, leaving about 37 hours unpaid."
  • May 21, 2020: Email to [scheduler], the Realize office manager and [a former boss] re "Time estimates and work submitted..."; 
    "As the person lowest on the totem pole at RIT, I am not in a good position to make yet another donation to our clients or to management, or whatever it is that you have in mind. A while back I coordinated with the guys downstairs to fix a DNS problem, and then noticed that it had been designated "admin time" in ConnectWise. I had to keep pushing to get that changed back to the correct status. Otherwise I would have eaten all the work and so would the guys downstairs."
  • Aug. 3 2020; Told [a former boss] and [scheduler]
    "No more free work!" when [a former boss] began suggesting he would manually reduce my hours in ConnectWise, during a meeting regarding CarePrecise.
  • Aug. 26, 2021 "Please intervene"; (Email to the boss, reporting a forged timesheet:)
    "Last Thursday 8/19/21, I was talking with Krystal Staring and reminded her of an email I sent her the day before. It showed before-and-after screen captures of the PetroSource website ticket. Before (under [scheduler]'s management), it showed 33.04 hours work done. After (under Krystal's management), the hours had disappeared. ... If NuMSP finds out that the office manager is tampering with official NuMSP records, they won't be happy about the company being exposed to risk of legal action.  If I add anything at all to the ticket that Krystal forged, I will be participating in illegal action. Can you please intervene in this matter?" (link to screen capture)
  • October 1, 2021: formal request for unpaid wages
    "[former employer]: This is my formal request for unpaid wages and full accounting details of those wages.
    Nicole Kelly, head of Human Resources for MAVeCap/NuMSP, directed accounting details to clarify my final Realize wages in an email on 9/1/21. The missing accounting details and therefore unknown final wages are for: CarePrecise and PetroSource.
    CarePrecise: A website conversion project based in hourly rates ($75 per hour) billed to client. The (unknown) amount of wages removed by the Realize office manager (according to [company scheduler]) is due to me, along with accounting details from ConnectWise to verify the amounts.
    PetroSource: A website creation project based on fixed-fee (Level 3 Deluxe) and internal overage-control wages. Both the standard 50% ($750.00) of the total website cost ($1,500 Level 3 Deluxe) and the wages* for overages are due to me, along with accounting details from ConnectWise to verify the amounts.
    *In this case, wages for overages starts just beyond the maximum 30 hours we first assigned to PetroSource. The last reliable number of overage hours I saw was 3.04. My best estimate of how many total work-hours were performed before I noticed that ConnectWise had been tampered with is somewhere between 3 and 6 hours in addition to 3.04 hours, for a total range of 6.04-9.04 hours. Multiplied by $25/hour, which [a former boss] once told me was the lowest wage for a qualified technician at Realize I.T., yields at least $151-$226, in addition to the $750.00 that makes up my 50%.
    I look forward to resolution of this difficult matter.
  • October 25, 2021: formal request for unpaid wages
    "NuMSP:
    I've been asked by the State of Oklahoma Department of Labor to ensure you receive this formal request for unpaid wages and full accounting details of those wages.
    1- Specifically, I have not to my knowledge been paid for work done for PetroSource. I say "to my knowledge" because of the lack of basic financial accounting information.
    2- Also, there is a check missing for the first two weeks of August of this year. I earlier sent you email asking about this item.
    PetroSource: A website creation project based on fixed-fee (Level 3 Deluxe)and internal overage-control wages. Both the standard 50% ($750.00) of the total website cost ($1,500 Level 3 Deluxe) and the wages* for overages are due to me, at [a former boss]'s standard $25/hour, along with accounting details from ConnectWise to verify the amounts.
    I am in receipt of two checks from NuMSP—each in the amount of $346.20—that presumably apply in part for some of the work I did. Unfortunately, the financial information on each NuMSP check stub is so primitive that it's impossible to know how the checks align with work-hours submitted.
Evidence type Face page key notes
Overview (Oklahoma DOL record)

Jan. 27, 2022: On the face page for my last reply to the Realize/NuMSP corporate attorney, I touched on some key points. This was in regard to discrepancies between items as they were in the system before the NuMSP acquisition and how they appeared on the new corporate server after the acquisition:

Time records: I request that Realize provide me with Realize ConnectWise work time reports for clients such as PetroSource that are in dispute, and also NuMSP ConnectWise work reports for the same client; as well as a similar before-and-after for CarePrecise. Please indicate the "type" for each one using the following Timesheets Types:
Type 1, paper Realize timesheets that I and the other techs submitted to Krystal Staring to calculate paychecks.
Type 2, Realize ConnectWise timesheets I submitted to Krystal Staring in digital form as did other Realize techs, before NuMSP acquired Realize.
Type 3, NuMSP ConnectWise timesheets as they now appear in NuMSP's corporate ConnectWise installation.

I again agree to have my before-and-after screen captures of PetroSource work hours in ConnectWise examined by an independent digital forensic analyst, to confirm or deny the possibility of "fabrication."

I request that Realize send me a copy of my payroll records to clarify confusion about A) PetroSource hours before and after the NuMSP ConnectWise transition and B) CarePrecise converting itself from months of daily entries down to a single line. Perhaps at least a screen capture of that single line?

Only one type of third party would be useful: a digital forensic examiner to look into the PetroSource screen captures I submitted, and to also look into the possibility that the original Realize ConnectWise was altered or even deleted. Without consulting a financial specialist, I don't know quite how to look into the possibility that paper records of my employment at Realize may also have been destroyed.



1099 land mine

In retrospect, several things are obvious: setup, confirmation, detonation.
  1. Setup  [a former boss] hadn't talked about employee types during his May 16, 2017 recruitment presentation at a restaurant. He was enthusiastic about selling his vision of a successful Web Services department, something he told me his clients had been asking about for quite a while. But, on my first day on May 22, he added that the job would be part‑time until Brent (salesman Brent Fields) got the sales up. (Also, that there was enough office space for two additional web techs if things went well, and that the new Web Services department might someday be spun off as an independent business.) During the first weeks, the accountant/office manager came by my desk with details like their standard paper timesheet and how it should be submitted to her. She also said the tax form they were using for Web Services would look different than what I was used to, because Web Services was being run as a DBA (doing business as Luke 5 Marketing).
  2. sweating NuMSP misclassification wage theft 1099 as a verb / image courtesy clipart-library.comConfirmation  In January 2018, I got the tax form in the mail. Sure enough, the 1099 looked a little different than the W-2. No problem. What is strangely funny now is that the accountant/office manager and [a former boss] had to be sweating bullets for the first week or so in January. If I had recognized the 1099 for what it was, then there would have been an angry confrontation, and their new web developer would have immediately quit. But if they were lucky, I would not recognize the intent behind this unfamiliar tax form, and I would be securely inside the trap. They were lucky.
  3. Detonation  After my last day August 27, 2021, I watched the postal mail box for my last checks. I was surprised that wages for work on two websites was missing. I emailed a written request to [a former boss] on Oct. 1. He ignored it. (First event leading to the wage claim, in case anyone is interested.) Then I did a Google session on what to do and had a conversation with a lawyer (on a courtesy basis), which led to me the realization I would have to seek help from law enforcement. Since Realize had been acquired earlier that year, and NuMSP was now calculating and dispensing payroll, I also sent NuMSP a written request for missing wages on Oct. 25. They ignored it. (Second event leading to the wage claim, in case you are a student of how to prevent such problems.) So, I filed a wage claim with the Oklahoma Dept. of Labor. From management at Realize, it was time to detonate the 1099 land mine:
    • In the first Realize/NuMSP attorney reply, the word "contractor" was mentioned 7 times in 11 pages.
    • In another reply, "contractor" was mentioned by three Realize managers 17 times in 6 pages,
    • and the attached 10-page attorney letter mentioned "contractor" an additional 31 times.
    • But, from May 2017 to August 2021, while I worked at Realize/NuMSP, management mentioned "contractor" (or any related term) a total of 0 times. This includes verbal, email, documents, etc.

    It looked like a crude effort to plant an idea in the minds of staff at the Oklahoma Dept. of Labor. But, I figured the folks working at the State of Oklahoma were too smart to fall for that.

State of Oklahoma:

Version I
"Whether an employer misclassifies an employee is an IRS matter. Our agency does not make those determinations as it has to do with whether taxes are deducted or not deducted. Our agency has no jurisdiction over tax issues." —Oklahoma Dept. of Labor (Nov. 8, 2021)

Version II (2 months, 27 days later)  
CONTRACTOR: "The conclusion is the documentation does not present sufficient evidence of an employer/employee relationship and presents that of an independent contractor relationship. As an independent contractor, our agency has no jurisdiction to resolve your disputes. The proper venue would be small claims court. This claim is now closed and becomes a public record pursuant to the Open Records Act of Oklahoma." —Don Schooler, General Counsel Chief of Staff; Daniel Mares, Attorney III (Feb. 4, 2022)

NOTE: Oklahoma DOL received advanced notice of this document in case they needed to correct factual errors (so far, I've only had to remove the name of a DOL employee no longer employed there).


Here are the rules supposedly followed when the state does consider such questions:

Oklahoma Department of Labor

Wage Law

Administrative Rules as of Jan. 14, 2019

Brackets [ ] show origin in IRS rules

Here's a short version of the rules used by the IRS to distinguish an employee from a contractor (from IRS website):

Common Law Rules

Facts that provide evidence of the degree of control and independence fall into three categories:

( https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/independent-contractor-self-employed-or-employee )



Possible missing check

The Realize office manager sent me a list of final paychecks on Aug. 16, 2021, during my last weeks at Realize/NuMSP. She suggested that one of them for Aug.1-16 had not yet been sent.

NuMSP Checks (minus one) mailed to Keith Purtell

But, my bank records deposits in the most minimal way possible, leaving questions about what arrived when and from whom.

This would have been easy to clarify, but NuMSP payroll staff opted not to be professional (or constructive or courteous) when I sent email on Oct. 19, 2021, asking for help with the apparently-missing check.

Request for clarification next-to-last paycheck from NuMSP

They literally ignored me. If you have read parts of this page where my assessment of NuMSP leadership seemed harsh, here is one more example of why I learned to assume the worst.

Finally, in late 2022, I created a spreadsheet showing every deposit to my bank in 2021, and any information I had about where that money may have come from, and how it might align with what the Realize office manager told me in her email. After removing rows that were probably not NuMSP in origin, and counting pay-periods in 2021, I decided that it was likely that my next-to-last check probably arrived at some time during the year.



Additions

Evidence type Employee (blue background) or Contractor (red background)
Control over how work was done (emails)
[misclass­ific­ation]
While waiting for a submission to Oklahoma DOL to be processed, I came across several related items in this table. The first is a collection of emails from my employers about how they insisted I work on the new PetroSource website. Historically, [a former boss] had been careful to only convey HR actions in spoken conversation; there was no physical record. However, once he sold the company and became a manager, his new job description restricted him to his office, and he began to rely on email.

Example emails: CLICK re CONTROL; new tab/window.

Tools (physical evi­dence)
[misclass­ific­ation]
Another example: The attorney for Realize/NuMSP kept insisting that I worked from home. First, a Feb. 1, 2021 video by KJRH in Tulsa about online job scams. Their crew stopped by Realize/NuMSP to interview [a former boss], and in the process shot footage of [a former boss], followed by me at my standard-issue desk and PC that was property of Realize/NuMSP. (*images below from said video) (© 2022 Scripps Media, Inc)
YouTube link KJRH Channel 2 (new tab/window)
Keith Purtell at normal workstation 3303 S. Harvard Ave. © 2022 Scripps Media, Inc
Keith Purtell profile image at 3303 S. Harvard Ave. © 2022 Scripps Media, Inc

Data integrity (physical evidence)
[misclass­ific­ation]

When I submitted my two-week notice to NuMSP Human Resources on Aug. 17, 2021, the email contained the following text about a large hourly project called CarePrecise. It's important because of the extreme measures Realize/NuMSP went to asserting my employment was entirely fixed-fee/flat rate, as is the case with "contractors."

"August 3, 2020, I was in a meeting with [a former boss] and [company scheduler] regarding an hourly project to make the CarePrecise website mobile ready. As they spoke, I realized they planned to cut my wages by either docking the time or by removing support for any time that went over a rough estimate I had provided to the client. This had happened at least once before, with a company named 505 Architects."

The corporate attorney's Dec. 20, 2021 text contains numerous efforts to typify CarePrecise as a fixed-fee/flat-rate i.e. "contractor" job. I have indicated each instance of this and other problems with a "NOTE."

"Mr. Purtell claims against Realize on the CarePrecise project. He appears to be demanding he be paid time he actually chose to use, rather than the time used to calculate the flat rate price of the project. [NOTE: My wage claim clearly states that the one problem with CarePrecise was that an administrative person told me that a manager had allegedly manually reduced my hours. Nothing else.]  Please note that he claims he was to be paid September 11, 2021, or "11 days after last day." He appears to be demanding he be paid time he actually chose to use, rather than the time used to calculate the flat rate price of the project. [NOTE: The 11 days reference is Oklahoma state law regarding how long employers have to deliver wages to an employee: "Employers must set regular pay dates within eleven (11) days of the end of the pay period." —OK Statute 40-5-165.2 ]  Yet, he demands payment based on what he admits he now estimates for additional compensation exceeding the agreed flat dollar amount rate. [NOTE: There was no flat or fixed rate for the hourly CarePrecise project. The owner of this company has kept detailed records. ]  He was timely paid for his last work on the CarePrecise project. Documents concerning CarePrecise are enclosed.

Realize Invoice #1350 dated February 29, 2020, billed CarePrecise $3,300.00 for modifications to existing website. Client check was received March 11, 2020. Realize would prepare itemization of amounts due Mr. Purtell, in order to keep track of its expenses. The form used was headed as a bill, though Mr. Purtell never sent billings to Realize. [NOTE: I didn't send either billing or invoices to Realize/NuMSP because I submitted timesheets just like the other techs.]  Bill dated March 15, 2020, shows payment to Mr. Purtell regarding CarePrecise, with noted quantity being one project for modification of existing website, rather than any number of hours. [NOTE: The attorney presented a blizzard of pricing and billing words and documents about CarePrecise to the Oklahoma DOL. What's really odd is that my wage claim never questioned the pricing and billing. The only reason I included this client in the wage claim was that an admin-level person told me the accountant/office manager was allegedly going into the digital record and cutting my hours. So, I made a rough estimate of how much she might have removed (15%) and asked for that, thinking they might come clean and ask her for a more accurate estimate.] 

On that CarePrecise project he was paid more than the agreed 50%,[NOTE: There is no documentation and was no discussion of converting the hourly CarePrecise project into the new-website fixed-fee status.]  which would be $1,650.00, for the simple reason that he spent much more time on that project than he had originally indicated would be necessary. In other words, he was paid more than agreed compensation when he ended up being "upside down" on the time he chose to devote to that project.[NOTE: With all respect to the attorney, who is relying on what his client tells him, the reason the numbers don't align is because this was hourly work. If there really had been a situation where it looked like I was going to be paid more than an agreed-on amount, either the Realize office manager or [a former boss] would definitely have said something. ] 

The additional $431.25 paid Mr. Purtell on that project resulted in a decrease in the agreed share of compensation for Realize,    [NOTE: In other words, in four years and three months of my working for Realize/NuMSP, this irregular $431.25 payment happened and was never corrected, and it  just so happens  to involve the largest hourly project I did for Realize/NuMSP?]   not an increased charge to the client."

A note about "spending more time" and "upside down on the time": The only time Realize/NuMSP management told me they felt my time management needed tweaking was the Aug. 3, 2020 meeting where they at first talked about altering my ConnectWise time sheets but then switched to discussing an enhanced plan to pre-arrange hours with clients.

Realize Invoice #1481 of June 30, 2020, to CarePrecise was for another web page update, after which the client paid Realize July 6, 2020. Upon receipt of payment, Realize included his agreed one‑third (1/3) [NOTE: There was no talk of 1/3 of anything during my full span of employment at Realize, and nothing like that was in our price sheet.]  when paying Mr. Purtell Realize general account check 5093, Again, Realize and Mr. Purtell did not use paychecks or paystubs. [NOTE: After I read this and submitted scanned paychecks and paystubs, the attorney suddenly became silent on this topic. Oh, and in the first response from said attorney, his 30 pages of supporting CarePrecise documents included scans of my paychecks and my paystubs. You know—the ones he said were never used.], and per agreement of Realize and Mr. Purtell, he was not to be paid and was not paid until the project client had first paid. [NOTE: Use of the phrase "until the project client had first paid" is stage-setting similar to use of the word "completed." More on this later. By the way, my employers did not bring up any "withheld wages" language during the entire time I worked there. Only after my last day did they withhold wages.] 

At this point, the attorney has prepared a "contractor" narrative. The problem with that is that I entered my CarePrecise hours each day in ConnectWise. The number of records there, the amount of detail, and the contents of all those months of records would have disproved the attorney's theory. What was management to do about so many hourly-work records? The answer is in bold text in the following:

Realize Invoice #1531 to CarePrecise on August 11, 2020, was for Phase 2 modifications to existing website, at $75.00 per hour [Notice the hourly rate.], paid by client August 12, 2020. August 20, 2020, that project was itemized to Mr. Purtell and he was paid his agreed one‑third (1/3) share August 24, 2020, by general account check 5114. In that instance, the client had 88 web pages, each of which needed to be corrected to appear on mobile devices. Mr. Purtell claimed his correction would require an hour per page, resulting in the 88 hours to which the client agreed before work began.

While records might indicate Mr. Purtell worked 88 hours in one (1) day, that was obviously not the case. He worked on that project over a period of several months, while also working on other projects. [ Not just projects, but much hourly work as well. ] The 88 hours were billed for the single day of August 11, 2020, once he had concluded the entire project. That the 88 hours were recorded on a single date evidences that the record was not a timesheet or contemporaneous time card, and that a project was not billed until completed. [NOTE: I recorded daily records of all my work at Realize/NuMSP during the entire four years and three months, including CarePrecise. The only way that months of separate daily records could suddenly be compressed into a single record would be if someone with administrative rights in ConnectWise were to delete all the daily records and replace them with only one. So, this does not "evidence" what the attorney hopes for. It "evidences" something else entirely.]  [NOTE: Use of the word "completed" is stage-setting for a novel idea, which I addressed in detail in my reply. See below.]  As agreed, the sequence of events was completion of project, invoice to client, payment from client, and then payment of agreed share to Mr. Purtell.

Two possibilities here: 1-The attorney hopes the Oklahoma DOL will believe that months of daily digital timesheets suddenly became one timesheet without any help from a person, or 2-Someone with admin rights inside ConnectWise—such as a manager—actually compressed all those daily timesheets into one. Also, the CarePrecise project was divided into phases as revealed above, after which the client paid. There was no waiting until the entire thing was completed before the client received an invoice. The attorney himself submitted records of multiple CarePrecise payments during the months I was working on the site modifications.

The following is from my last reply to the Realize/NuMSP attorney:
At the time I was working on CarePrecise in August 2020, we had moved over to ConnectWise. This means the daily time entries would have been the same as every other project that Realize technicians worked on. Furthermore, I was very conscientious about those daily entries, because both Krystal Staring and [scheduler] had instructed me that they were in large part a benefit for our clients; that a client could request or demand details about the work they were paying for, and that Realize would respond in a professional fashion with full details.
Now, according to [a former boss], something has occurred that I never once saw while working at Realize:

Months of daily entries have somehow been compressed into a single entry.
This shouts for independent verification.

—Keith Purtell

Search destroyed time sheets on DuckDuckGo...(new tab/window)

Financial con­trol (physical evi­dence)
[misclass­ific­ation]

"Completed"

Impromptu office policy*

*Came into existence after I resigned

From my wage claim correspondence:
The Oklahoma DOL has before them a PDF of an email sent to Adam Muller (a vice president at NuMSP and [a former boss]'s boss) and to [a former boss] that was part of a conversation among the three of us about ensuring PetroSource got their website as agreed. [a former boss] had told me that NuMSP had a "web team"—possibly overseas—that took control of the realizetech.com website when NuMSP purchased Realize and all its assets. [a former boss] speculated in conversation that the team could take on the remainder of the PetroSource project, as is normal among web developers. But the subsequent email to Mr. Muller and [a former boss] completes that narrative and offers details on how to quickly move the PetroSource website forward. Instead of doing so, NuMSP has opted to ... leave Becky Williams and Charles Hancock at PetroSource dangling.

It is clear that NuMSP has blocked the normal completion of the Realize PetroSource project, to the great harm of the people at PetroSource. Furthermore, NuMSP's current use of the word "completed" appears to be a ruse to avoid paying me for my part of the work done on the PetroSource website. I gave a status report on PetroSource to my former employer and NuMSP VP Adam Muller on Aug. 27, 2022, including instructions on how to complete the last steps before delivery. Both my boss and Mr. Muller thanked me for the information. Neither one said anything about plans to make me donate my work-hours.

If "completed" was a crucial enough issue to block the normal payment of wages, then why not raise that issue during my last two weeks? Instead, both [a former boss] and VP Adam Muller received my email about wrapping up the PetroSource website and thanked me (same as in the final meeting).

Imagine if employers were allowed to disregard state and federal law requiring that workers be paid for their completed work-hours, simply by claiming that something was not "completed." No government entity in the United States (except the Oklahoma DOL) has ever granted that right. Employers are expected to have a business model that accommodates personnel changes. This seems especially pertinent in a situation such as this, where the employer and his office manager have actively interfered with website completion.

If I had tried to stay at Realize/NuMSP long enough to complete PetroSource myself, I would have been doing so at a company where I had been told by our scheduler on 8/3/2020 that the office manager allegedly deleted a chunk of my timesheet hours on the CarePrecise hourly project. And, where I discovered that the office manager also reduced my digital timesheet hours on PetroSource.

A link below goes to Oklahoma Wage Law, in case anyone wants to find the statute at allows an employer to refuse payment of wages on the grounds of "not completed" or "client has first paid..." This is one of several instances where Realize tried to override state or federal law by creating an office policy.

Here's the link...

Oklahoma Wage Law PDF (new tab/window)

Delivering PetroSource

VP and boss express satisfaction

[a former boss] and I had discussed the web team that took over the Realize company website when NuMSP assumed ownership (and run it to this day). During our last meeting on 8/27/22, we again touched on the topic. NuMSP VP Adam Muller was present via Zoom. Both men seemed confident that PetroSource would be completed by the available web developers. A transcript of that meeting can be downloaded below.

Keith Purtell, speaking to NuMSP VP Adam Muller and Service Delivery Director [a former boss]. (minutes:seconds into the audio in parenthesis) :

Keith Purtell (05:34): "I left on the top level [of the L drive] ... a running Microsoft Word file of pending things that whoever hands off the clients would need to know, like status or any kind of information about the websites, the clients, the procedure, et cetera."

[a former boss] (06:37): "I've got the printout that you gave me L drive. I haven't had a chance to look at it, but I've got it."

Keith Purtell (06:41): " ... And I think one thing [bossfirstname] and I are in complete agreement on is the client's never perceiving any kind of blip at all."
"What I'd like to do when I get home is write down where I'm at on migrating the PetroSource site, hopping it over essentially to the temp domain, the development domain that our host site ground provided for us. I want you to know where that's at, so that if your tech picks it up to get that over to a stable development domain, they know what's been tried so far."

[ Email sent to Adam Muller and [a former boss] after the meeting (PDF) Download file or View here (new tab/window) ]

Keith Purtell (09:03): "So anyway, I'm happy if there's any questions about that process, [former employer]'s got my home email. [ speaks email address aloud ] My cell phone is the same, et cetera. So once again, I think the one thing we all agreed on is that no customer... Because I've met these people and talked with them, I like the customers, [they should detect] no visible blips. So that's why I'm going into a little bit of extra detail about letting you know where that's at as far as being able to see the development side, being able to let the clients see it. Any questions, just let me know."

[a former boss] (09:44): "Okay. Yeah, we appreciate that."
Adam Muller (09:47): "Appreciate it. Yep."
Keith Purtell (09:48): "You're welcome."
Adam Muller (09:50): "Best of luck to you. I don't know if you have anything else, but wherever you're ending up, good luck."



Pretend-firing

VP present, but no HR staff

Fired before scheduled last day:
Here is [a former boss] firing me during this same meeting, with NuMSP VP Adam Muller looking on:
"So, what we are going to do is we're going to go ahead and just let today be your last day, and then we'll go ahead and part ways as of today. Just going to have you turn your key in and then we'll just consider today the last day."

Keith Purtell, later in meeting:
"...but we do have PetroSource likely to contact Realize today about their site and also PGI  [Phillips+Gomez hourly work]. [former employer] is familiar with both of these. What I'd like to do when I get home is write down where I'm at on migrating the PetroSource site, hopping it over essentially to the temp domain, the development domain that our host SiteGround provided for us. I want you to know where that's at. So anyway, I'm happy if there's any questions about that process, [former employer]'s got my home email. [ speaks email address aloud ] My cell phone is the same, et cetera. So once again, I think the one thing we all agreed on is that no customer... Because I've met these people and talked with them, I like the customers, [they should detect] no visible blips."

NOTE #1: Firing me three days before my official last day means that I lost three days of production time. This makes [a former boss]'s claims that he couldn't pay me for my completed work-hours because a project was not completed all the more outrageous.

NOTE #2: [a former boss]'s and Mr. Muller's behavior in the meeting was so strange that I didn't know what effect it may have had on my resignation. I contacted MAVeCap/NuMSP Human Resources and asked whether they intended to show me as resigned or fired in their records. They answered: "resigned." That means that what [a former boss] did was just for his own and the Realize office manager's enjoyment; they pretend-fired me. As to why Adam Muller just sat there and watched it happen, I have received no explanation.

PetroSource:
Two of the projects "not completed" and for which [a former boss] refuses to pay: My completed work‑hours are PetroSource and StoneBridge Group (that I know of*). In both cases, the incomplete status was/is outside my control. The PetroSource website was 1-Delayed by efforts to get responses from our busy client during construction, and 2-Withheld from the NuMSP web team (and withheld from any qualified developer). This site was mostly done and awaiting PetroSource review of their Careers page as well as a stable "developer link" from the hosting service SiteGround. Handing off a web project is no different than the same handoffs Realize does every day among their hardware techs.

* Despite a directive from MAVeCap/NuMSP Human Resources that NuMSP payroll staff clarify what I was or was not paid for, those persons have refused to do so.

During the wage claim process, I contacted an established Tulsa web developer named Suzanne Bird-Harris (websitesinwp.com). [a former boss] ran Web Services as a WordPress-centric operation, and Ms. Bird-Harris is proficient with that technology. I passed along her contact information to Realize/NuMSP in case there was some reason they could not use the NuMSP web team to complete the last few steps on the PetroSource website. (Said team currently manages [a former boss]'s company site at RealizeTech.com.) One would think that Realize/NuMSP would take a customer-first approach and wrap up that project as discussed on 8/27/22 during the firing meeting and then that afternoon in an email.

Instead, silence.

[a former boss] and Mr. Muller left the people at PetroSource hanging. Our client was forced to look elsewhere and start over.

Downloads:

  1. Transcript of 8/27/22 firing meeting,
  2. downloadable audio of 8/27/22 firing meeting, or
  3. play file in a new tab/window) and also
  4. email follow-up regarding PetroSource website completion

UPDATE:
The PetroSource web presence is restored, thanks to a Tulsa company named Direct Allied Agency. This is the kind of professional customer service that PetroSource should have gotten from Realize/NuMSP. Please visit their new site at petrosourcellc.net (new tab/window).
I was surprised Becky an Charles did not use their domain name "accountingforenergy.com" as they first told me. It's possible that Realize/NuMSP refused to cooperate with pointing their domain at the Direct Allied site, forcing PetroSource to purchase a new domain name.

StoneBridge Group:
This site also was/is mostly complete. My web development at Realize was administered by [a former boss], who also had family members working at StoneBridge Group. When they did not submit all the files needed for completing their website, [a former boss] kept telling me that he would talk to them about it. The delays and excuses went on for months.

UPDATE
The StoneBridge Group website now has a main graphic on its splash page. For more than two years there was only a blank spot underneath the top navigation, after Realize management inexplicably postponed retrieving a photo file from the clients. The new graphic is a high-quality photo showing the Tulsa County Family Center for Juvenile Justice at dusk, and includes part of the Tulsa skyline in the background. See their site at stonebridgegroup.net (new tab/window)

The creative Realize/NuMSP use of the word "completed" has led to my current unpaid wages; a direct violation of state law (new tab/window).

"There are no circumstances under which an employer can totally withhold a final paycheck under Oklahoma law"—LawInfo.com (https://www.lawinfo.com/resources/wages/under-what-circumstances-can-a-final-paycheck.html)

"An employer can be assessed a penalty of two percent (2%) liquidated damages for each day the payment of wages is overdue, up to the amount of the wages due."—Oklahoma Department of Labor ( https://www.ok.gov/Labor/documents/20190114_TRANS_RUL_WH_Rules.pdf )

"Oklahoma law requires your employer to pay your final wages within 3 days of when you would normally get paid" (new tab/window)

Financial consequences of interference

More than a year "completing"

As noted above, at least two website projects were stalled by management. This was the tip of an iceberg.

Starting in about January 2020, management directed me to start setting aside time on Fridays for a Web Services Meeting, and to send them an agenda of ongoing work in advance of each meeting. One example from 2020 is below this text.

Blocking success

From looking at weekly-meeting agendas retrieved, it's clear they began placing a number of money-making website projects on hold. Examples:

  • Samson Resources II
  • OK Machine & Manufacturing
  • Memorial Baptist Church
  • Rodeo.Studio (Nick Denison)

There was no clear reason given, but if I asked why, the response was along the lines of my boss needing to call someone first, or he was busy right now with something else, or he would request that our scheduling person remind him later, etc.

Since my boss was our only salesman and also the primary contact with Web Services clients—who were also his existing hardware/networking clients—he was able to bring things to a grinding halt. I have no idea how much money we lost.

This puts the assertions of NuMSP VP Lyndon Laemmerhirt in fresh perspective: "... his [Keith Purtell's] abrupt departure left us in a bind with customers expecting us to deliver on what Keith was supposed to produce but never did." Laemmerhirt blames an employee for actions taken by mid-level manager [a former boss].

[a former boss]'s unexplained holds stretched out for 20 months until I finally resigned. That was 1.8 years of me trying to complete my assigned projects! It seems like a strange way to run a business. But, to the executive layer at NuMSP, this leadership style was so attractive that they organized a dogpile; as illustrated in the section; "Elites speak to us."

For the entire two weeks before my last day, [a former boss] did not mention anything about incomplete websites. However he did talk about the NuMSP "web team" that took control of [a former boss]'s RealizeTech.com after NuMSP purchased Realize in early 2021. Knowing the technicians on the NuMSP web team were available became my focus as I wrapped up my website work between Aug. 17 and Aug. 27 of 2021.

WEB SERVICES (K. Purtell) WEEKLY PLANNING w/ [a former boss] & [company scheduler]
"JW:" indicates origin of HOLD status; [a former boss].

1- Realize Information Technology site
RIT team/employee pictures for site (with Dakota) D5500 -Start week of the …  At first, I couldn't see why this was endlessly delayed (never got done). Considering what has happened recently, I wonder about the risk of allowing employee pictures that might include me, and then having to frantically take them down if-and-when the boss and the office manager used the "1099 land mine"?
SEO landing pages bring in more business? JW: HOLD
Newsletter is underway …
Mobile background sizing (lame response FameThemes tech support ) JW: HOLD
Create sketch or mockup based on RR concepts about splash page SEO. JW: HOLD
iPad nav bar not normal -suggest test of existing code in RIT staging area. JW: HOLD
Button on splash to Contact Us with pre-populated subject line. (section-hero.php) JW: HOLD
Facebook image size ( older post; can't change )
We may have to remove reCaptcha spam filter and use alternative. Will have to monitor for more spam.

1b- All WP sites… A) Charge for maintenance? B) stop updates from breaking sites C) stop updates completely. We now have a ticket and are starting this. (Turn off all plugin updates except Wordfence. I also need to find the steps to do similar with updates for themes and for WordPress itself.)

2- Rodeo.Studio
A- Client to select theme for new site (down to two choices by Nick Denison)? JW: HOLD
B- Begin the base build

3- 505 Architects additional enhancements or SEO JW: HOLD
A- Ready for staging area etc., email tests
B- Phase II - Work on new version of mid-section on splash page
C- Phase II - New instructions from Brian Thomas; downloaded new image library.
D- Brian responded "Not at this time" to query. I found out he had a Google tracking code for SEO but was not doing anything with it, so as a courtesy I pasted it into his website.

4- StoneBridge Group
A- Keith sent list of needed-to-complete items to Stonebridge. JW will contact
B- Target 40 hours work

5- PGI / SEO
A- PGI has started asking about SEO; prelim work done. SENT Walter a note and SEO doc. JW: HOLD

6- Business development for Realize Information Technology

7- OneSource - 9h per month.
A Text edits (plus two image changes); create new WordPress login first via FTP.
[Realize owner] suggested he and I go over website; general overview. Keep LIST handy/suggest edits.

8- Social Media Management
A Social media "agency." FREE: Buffer, HootSuite (3 max), SocialOomph, Friends+Me. JW: HOLD
B Samantha Melhorn (Robin Robins) PDFs to JW (is any info transfer pending?) JW: HOLD
C Set final date for "Luke 5" on Twitter and Facebook, or park the name? JW: HOLD

9- UCC website branding/ transitioned to OneEach

10- Legal liability for client security decisions.
A- Do we need to issue a disclaimer, for cases where a client undermines their own digital security? See attached document… DRAFT a boilerplate, respond back, print. We must notify client/announce. Here's the original format (PDF) from that meeting and also as a JPG image
"...until the client has first paid"

"client has first paid..."

Impromptu office policy*

*Came into existence after I resigned

Realize/NuMSP needs a lot of luck using this excuse to avoid paying workers. Oklahoma state law is the ultimate authority, or perhaps the ODOL.

Are my former co-workers in the hardware department at Realize waiting for clients to make final payment before they get their paycheck? No; that's ridiculous. This ploy was concocted alongside "completed."

The reason they are not waiting is that the hardware/networking techs are beneficiaries of a competent business model that covers variability in client payment.

"...until the client has first paid" is another example of language Realize/NuMSP did not use over the course of my four years and three months there, but began to constantly repeat during the wage claim process.

Retaliating against me when I reported tampering with digital timesheets by firing me on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, caused me to lose three days of production time. I was originally scheduled to work until Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021.

There's a link below that goes to Oklahoma Wage Law. I'm providing this in case anyone wants to look up the statute at allows an employer to refuse payment of wages on the grounds of "not completed" or "client has first paid..." This is one of several instances where Realize tried to override state or federal law by creating an office policy.

Here's the link...

Oklahoma Wage Law PDF (new tab/window)



Elites speak to us

The lords clarify stuff for one of the peasants
Lyndon Laemmerhirt
Lyndon Laemmerhirt

NuMSP VP of Finance Lyndon Laemmerhirt sent several emails about me. I grouped them into one Feb. 14, 2022 reply. An abbreviated version of that email:

November 5, 2021
"To be clear I'm seeing you on as a 1099 contractor for project based work, so the State of Oklahoma Department of Labor would not apply here."  
I performed both hourly and fixed-fee work, as you have by now noticed from the timesheets I submitted to Oklahoma DOL.

"I trust you have discovered this, and have not made statements to suggest that you were an hourly worker at any time."  
See above.

"As a courtesy, letting you know that I will reach out to the department of Labor and set the record strait [sic]."  
That's laughable.

December 20, 2021
"I believe that the venue is improper given that Keith has never been an employee. Additionally his abrupt departure left us in a bind with customers expecting us to deliver on what Keith was supposed to produce but never did."  
What's "abrupt" about my Aug. 17, 2021 resignation and two-week notice to HR and to [a former boss]? Lyndon, you are an enthusiastic liar. The only things not delivered are A) the mostly-completed PetroSource that I coordinated with [a former boss] and Adam Muller to be handed off to the "web team" that took control of the realizetech.com website, and B) the mostly-completed stonebridgegroup.net which [a former boss] stalled for months, saying "I need to call them about those files we need." or "Oh I meant to call them; [company scheduler], remind me to do that." or "They've been real busy lately, so I'll call them later." etc.

"We all make mistakes so we wish him well, but he is not being forthcoming with regards to having ever been an employee of NuMSP, he was paid only when he delivered projects."  
My only mistake was believing my friend from church.

January 19, 2022
"Keith Purtell was an Independent Contractor for Realize Information Technology, LLC before they were acquired by NuMSP. They had six salaried employees and Keith Purtell was not one of them. We do not have a written contract with him. [a former boss] had a verbal agreement starting in 2017. Keith was a friend from his Church, and [a former boss] did not expect him to make false claims like this claim or the separate claim against Realize."  
Starting as [a former boss]'s friend from church is why it took me so long to understand that something extremely negative was going on at Realize.

"Keith Purtell never questioned his status as an independent contractor until after he terminated his business agreement with NuMSP."  
I immediately questioned my status when I read an April 15, 2021 email from Nicole Kelly describing me as a "contractor." I went home and did a great deal of online research about contractors. But by then, [a former boss] and the Realize office manager may have already begun discussing how/when to detonate the 1099 land mine. From the date of that HR email until the day in August when I turned in my two-week notice, I only knew that management was up to something ugly, and it involved the word "contractor." It wasn't until two months after my last day that I discovered the "1099 land mine" when I submitted a claim for unpaid wages.
Almost the same thing happened to Michael J., but he got the ODOL on his side, and was paid his final wages.

"Keith had completed a W9 form, and his compensation was reported on 1099 forms per IRS guidelines for independent contractors. Keith's compensation was paid from the general operating bank account and not the payroll account that was used for employees."  
For my entire life I have sought other people to manage my accounting: relatives, friends, H&R Block, automated websites. Krystal Staring told me during my first month: "Your tax forms will look different than what you are used to because [bossfirstname] is running Luke 5 as a DBA." As always, I trusted the accountants.

"Keith was not managed in the same way the employees were managed."  
Same location at 3303 S. Harvard Ave. (first and second floors) in Tulsa, same paper timesheets, same daily digital timesheets in ConnectWise Manage, same business cards, same clients (one exception), same boss, same scheduler, same accountant/office manager, same type of phone extension entry in the company PBX list, same Lunch-n-Learn meetings, same Monday-Friday days in the office (but 9-3:30 because sales inadequate for full-time), etc.

"Keith chose when and how he worked and how he completed the projects he worked on."  
I have a single phrase for anyone who goes to work for [a former boss] and does not follow instructions: "Instantly fired."

Feel free to look up former Realize Information Technology employees on LinkedIn and ask them yourself (Search LinkedIn [new tab/window). [a former boss] is old school; top-down. I have never had another employer who fired people so frequently, or who was so likely to roar at well-intentioned employees who tried too hard to be helpful.

"During acquisition negotiations between myself and NuMSP [a former boss] correctly reported that Keith Purtell was an independent contractor and was not included in the employee records. Jim Griffith, former CEO of NuMSP told [a former boss] that NuMSP did not offer Web Services like Keith was providing for Realize and that NuMSP may choose to stop providing those services after acquisition. During acquisition Adam Muller, former vice president of operations from NuMSP and [a former boss] discussed whether to keep Keith Purtell as an independent contractor and continue to provide Web Services or terminate the agreement and stop providing web services. Adam Muller decided to continue to use Keith Purtell as an independent contractor and continue to offer Web Services on a trial basis."  
None of you took a moment to discuss any of this with me. It was literally in secret.

"It was clearly communicated to Keith Purtell that he was an independent contractor and not an employee."  
I define "clearly" as the something either discussed or documented, i.e., "contractor" or "subcontractor" or "independent contractor" would have sufficed.

"He was not provided an employee offer letter like all the existing employees. He also did not participate in the new employee orientation and onboarding that the employees were required to attend. Adam Muller also took all employees out to dinner to welcome them to NuMSP. As an independent contractor Keith Purtell was not invited and did not attend."  
If there is any one statement that conveys the Realize/NuMSP management mixture of arrogance, contempt and dishonesty, this bragging about concealed action is it. So much so that you have spent thousands on an attorney to take from someone who already sustained massive financial losses from his affiliation with Realize/NuMSP.




Supplemental...

AGAIN: "This page is for education and also to warn workers about misclassification, wage theft, and the few corrupt government officials. ..."

In keeping with this page's journalism function, the following section is of general interest to anyone researching these topics. (My contact information and a link to a similar web page are included.)

Criminal action

What is "criminal" and what is not? Does having lots of money make a person immune from criminal prosecution? Is there a category of people with a "right" to perform criminal actions? What kind of person enjoys making another human being a crime victim?

Crimes are considered offenses against the state, or society as a whole. According to workingnowandthen.com: "Yet there's still a massive gap between the wage theft recoveries reported by government agencies and estimates for how much employers underpay their employees. According to a 2014 report from the Economic Policy Institute, the true cost of wage theft is more like $50 billion a year."

Crimes by employers against employees not only harm individual American workers; they also lower morale and trust throughout society.

Types of federal crime:

White-Collar Crime is financially motivated, non-violent crime committed by business professionals. Examples: wage theft, fraud, bribery, Ponzi schemes, insider trading, racketeering, embezzlement, and money laundering.

Tax crimes are typically prosecuted on a federal level. Misclassification is considered a form of tax evasion...
"If the IRS suspects fraud or intentional misconduct, it can impose additional fines and penalties. The employer could be subject to criminal penalties of up to $10,000 per misclassified worker and one year in prison (Section 7202). In addition, the person responsible for withholding taxes could also be held personally liable for any uncollected tax (Section 6672)."bloombergtax.com

Offenses against the state

That means that even though one person might murder a particular person, the murder itself is considered an offense to everyone in society. Accordingly, crimes against the state are prosecuted by the state. The prosecutor (not the victim) files the case in court as a representative of the state.

This has attracted the attention of corrupt businessmen and business groups, who have watered down laws and interfered with prosecutors and districts attorney, all to make white-collar crimes something rarely punished. (The Social Acceptability of White Collar Crimes in America, by Joseph P. Martinez; Eastern Michigan University)

If it was a civil case, then the wronged party would file the case.

Malicious businessmen

from cnbc.com:

"I am a thrill seeker."
"I like to get revenge on authorities."
"I never feel guilty."
"People who mess with me always regret it."

If you think any of the statements above describe you, then you most likely have a tendency to display antisocial, callous and reckless behaviors. According a study dating back to 2010, there were at least three times as many psychopaths in executive or CEO roles than in the overall population. But more recent data found it's now a much higher figure: 20 percent.

Narcissism involves an unrealistic sense of grandiosity and superiority, manifested in the form of vanity, self-admiration and delusions of talent. Here are the main characteristics of narcissistic and toxic bosses:

  1. They often crave validation and recognition from others. This is primarily because their self-esteem is high but fragile. Bosses who constantly show off are probably desperate for others' admiration.
  2. They tend to be self-centered. This means they're generally less interested in others and have deficits in empathy. For this reason, they are rarely found displaying any genuine consideration for people other than themselves.
  3. They have high levels of entitlement. Narcissists commonly behave as if they deserve certain privileges or enjoy higher status than their peers enjoy.


Report factual errors

I am open to correcting factual errors. I may be reached via info@keithpurtell.com, via direct message on Twitter @keithpurtell (new tab) or the Messenger tool on Facebook @keith.purtell (new tab).

NOTE: This page has always included my contact information, and I quickly responded to the one request for a correction that I received. This is more efficient and less of a burden on public institutions than filing a lawsuit to request a change.


'Owasso Tech Job' article

*2016 "Owasso Tech Job" scam (related topic)

*"Owasso Tech Job" OESC hearing TRANSCRIPT

Stand up for what is right!

Fight back by organizing!

Temp Worker Justice (new tab/window)
"Corporate employers use temp agency hiring to depress wages, strip away benefits and workers’ rights, evade compliance with employment laws and regulations, and divide the workforce. This strategy of replacing direct-hire jobs with temp agency jobs has degraded working conditions and eroded workers' power across industries. Decades of lobbying by the temporary staffing industry, on the state and federal level, created advantages for temp hiring over direct hiring, and succeeded in passing the costs onto individuals, communities, and taxpayers."—from their website

Unemployed Workers United (new tab/window)
"We're a coalition of organizers creating solutions that allow everyone to thrive. The American working-class has always been stronger and more unified than we are led to believe. Our time to come together is now."

"Unemployed Workers United works in multiple states in the Southeast and Southwest, to respond to our current economic and health crisis with solutions that will allow all of us to thrive. Anchored by five partnered national progressive organizations: People's Action, United for Respect, Mijente, the National Black Worker Center, and Working Families Party. Our focus is to organize with local grassroots organizations to engage unemployed, underemployed and workers facing precarious employment in building power to change their living conditions in their own cities and change the working conditions in their workplaces."

"Join the largest poor and working-class-led movement fighting for a new "normal" that restores our dignity and guarantees education, quality healthcare, safety, and income security."—from their website

National Legal Advocacy Network (new tab/window)
"The National Legal Advocacy Network (NLAN) is a legal non-profit organization that believes in shifting the balance of power towards greater equity in our economy and society through organizing, empowering systematically marginalized people and challenging entrenched racial discrimination, sexual harassment and exploitative workplace practices and predatory business schemes. NLAN is dedicated to leveraging legal resources to enhance the capacity and sustainability of the low-wage worker movement through community focused lawyering, worker center support and strategic litigation."—from their website

National Employment Law Project (new tab/window)
"Founded in 1969, the nonprofit National Employment Law Project (NELP) is a leading advocacy organization with the mission to build a just and inclusive economy where all workers have expansive rights and thrive in good jobs. Together with local, state, and national partners, NELP advances its mission through transformative legal and policy solutions, research, capacity-building, and communications."—from their website



Stop white-collar crime

NW3C is protecting Americans

"Since 1978, NW3C [National White-Collar Crime Center] has developed and delivered economic crime investigation, high-tech crime investigation, digital forensics, criminal intelligence, and other criminal justice training and technical assistance. Federal funding allows us to provide training and other services at no cost to state, local, tribal, and territorial criminal justice practitioners throughout the United States. Understanding that criminals and crime do not stop at jurisdictional or geographic boundaries, NW3C uses other funding sources to develop and deliver similar high-quality, industry-leading training to federal agencies, the private sector, and criminal justice professionals worldwide."

"NW3C began its existence in 1978 as the Leviticus Project. The Project takes its name from the Biblical verse Leviticus 19:13: "Thou shall not defraud thy neighbor, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until morning." Visit their website (new tab/window)


Okla. Dept. of Labor attorneys time spent deciding whether to abandon Oklahomans
Okla. Dept. of Labor attorneys time spent deciding whether to abandon Oklahomans